12 questions, 12 answers, 1 video

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou has not been talking to the foreign press in English since he felt being misquoted by AP a few years ago. In order to give non-Chinese-speakers an impression of what a press conference with Ma is like, I recorded today’s event with the English simultaneous interpretation. Just watch the video below.

Ma Ying-jeou press conference

When I received the invitation, it read:

A press event marking President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) seventh year in office is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., May 18, in the Presidential Office auditorium. The president will highlight the achievements of his administration and field questions from Taiwan and foreign journalists.

That did not sound as if we could expect a lot of surprising statements. I have covered a number of Ma press conferences in the past, so I know that he’s a very experienced politician who can talk a lot without really saying anything, if he wants to.

My former Ma Ying-jeou videos:

  • 2013 with my question
  • 2013 about human rights
  • 2012 on the eve of the election
  • 2010 on sovereignty

Welcome to the Presidential Office

I decided to attend nevertheless, because it’s always good to have some video footage with an election just one year away, and because I have only been inside the Presidential Palace a few times.

Taiwan President Ma Vice President Wu

The press entered the Presidential Office through a back door. There was a line at the security check, my camera bag was X-rayed, but everyone got inside pretty smoothly.

Read: How President Ma almost anwered my question

Upstairs, about 200 reporters, cameramen, photographers and other guests were gathered in a hall with a huge ROC flag and a portrait of Sun Yat-Sen below which Ma Ying-jeou was seated.

Taiwan Presidential Office press conference

My video of President Ma’s press conference

After picking my spot, I hooked my camera up to the audio device with the interpreter’s audio signal. Unfortunately, I did not get any English sound initially, so my video is missing the first two questions. You still get enough to sink your teeth into, though.

There are links in the video description to help you jump directly to the various questions.

The subjects are:

  • 0:11 Energy policy and renewables
  • 2:35 Relations with Japan, restrictions on food imports
  • 8:40 Economic development, growth rates, effects of ECFA, trade with China
  • 15:30 Approval rating, success of policies, criticism
  • 19:33 Future of relation with Palau
  • 22:18 Indigenous submarines
  • 25:37 Criticism, legacy, status quo, economic situation, income disparity, wealth gap, tax policies
  • 29:27 Cross strait policies, AIIB, Chinese tourist stopovers, representative offices
  • 33:06 KMT presidential candidate, Eric Chu
  • 34:13 Chu in Beijing, 1992 consensus, cross strait relations, status quo
  • 39:14 Relations with USA, TIFA, TPP, pork and beef imports
  • 43:17 KMT presidential candidate, Eric Chu, Wang Jin-pyng

I urge you to check out this and see if you can spot any similarities in Ma Ying-jeou’s reasoning: Bluesplaining

Watch until the very end to see the president work the room, shake a lot of hands, and even pose for selfies!

Press conference journalists

Which statements did you find most interesting?

About me

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google Plus.

Video: What Makes Taiwan so Special?

English posts you might want to have a look at:

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