Recalling back to 2016, Tsai Ing-wen, as the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), fought her way out of the battle with the two other candidates and was elected as the first female Taiwan government leader, bringing Taiwan to its third party swap. Since being elected, the leader has gained her title of “the Taiwanese spice sisters” among the media with her feisty attitude towards cross-strait policies and diplomacy status, further winning her second fourth year in 2020.
On May 20, 2023, the President held an online news conference to review her policy success and changes throughout the last seven years of her ruling, highlighting several arenas like cross-strait tension and international recognition. Tsai started by expressing her gratitude to her fellow Taiwanese people for how they united to overcome the challenges faced in the past seven years, helping to “redefine” Taiwan and bring it to the international community.
On the local economy, she restated the key economic changes, such as introducing six core strategic industries, including vital semiconductor production and biomedical industry, strengthening Taiwan’s economic resilience. On a global level, she also emphasised the importance of Taiwan in the US-China trade war, relocating as a key actor to the global support chain and geopolitically enhancing Taiwan’s military power to self-defend, including initiating self-produced aircraft and warships. She ended the conference with her promise to continue striving to improve social and global conditions.
Recent foreign visits have further displayed the diplomatic successes of Tsai, with UK Former Minister Liz Truss and Current US House of Representative Speaker Kevin McCarthy traveling to meet her in person. Recently in late March to Early April 2023, after visiting its Latin American allies' countries, Guatemala, and Belize, she made a stop visit in the US in New York and Los Angeles, meeting key members like Hakeem Jefferies, the current leader of the Democratic Party in the lower house. On cross-strait relations, unlike the former leading party Kuomintang (KMT), which prefers maintaining a cooperative and friendly attitude towards the Mainland, Tsai instead, emphasised Taiwan’s differences with the Mainland, such as in January 2019, when Chinese government leader Xi Jinping called on Taipei to initiate work on unification under methods like one country, two systems, a model used by the Chinese to Hong Kong and Macau when they were returned to China from foreign colonial rule, Tsai strongly opposed such suggestions, stating under no circumstances will Taiwan accept such offer, showing how she redefines Taiwan’s global position in her past 7 years presidency.
Yet the deteriorating Taiwanese support may hint at how Tsai faces new rounds of local challenges. According to polls by Institute due March 2023, the ruling DPP suffered a serious defeat in last year’s local election, Tsai’s approval rate also crashed to the lowest point of 37.5% in early 2023, leading to the resignation of her leadership position in the DPP, despite rising back to current 41.9%, the condition may suggest Tsai and the DPP may need to seek better succeed coming to her last year of presidency.
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