Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: What is required of a president?

Spring is warming up and flowers are blossoming. Local politics is also heating up as candidates prepare for next year’s presidential election. As the battle between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) intensifies, many people are coming forward to mend the chaotic situation.

In the DPP’s primary, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is being challenged by former premier William Lai (賴清德), while several hopefuls are vying for the KMT’s nomination. Business tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) last month made the political show even more interesting by throwing his hat in the ring.

As if these were not enough, the parties’ nomination processes are controversial, resulting in a focus on procedural justice, while the public is concerned whether democracy in the nation is progressing or backsliding.

In addition, China is watching closely and some feel that the election is about Taiwan’s survival.

Gou might have joined the fray because the goddess Matsu came to him in a dream, or because he wants to repeat US President Donald Trump’s feat of moving from business to politics. Be that as it may, regardless of whether he wins or loses, he has raised a fundamental question: What are the necessary requirements for someone who wants to be president?

Gou’s decision has attracted attention not only because it is the first time since the nation’s democratization that a businessperson has made a bid for the presidency: Another reason is the widespread concern over whether he would be able to separate the national interest from his business interests and avoid conflicts of interest, if he were to win.

As someone who runs a multinational business, his management and leadership abilities are outstanding, but running a nation is very different from running a business. There are, for example, great differences in goals, mission, concerns, organizational structure and way of doing things.

Even more important, his manufacturing business is mainly based in China: If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose ambition is to annex Taiwan, has any “needs” from Gou or offers any “instructions” to him, is there even a possibility that he would be able to resist, given that companies in China must be loyal to the CCP?

Gou would not be able to dispel public concern over such issues simply by placing his assets in trust.

This puts the spotlight on the first requirement for a president: Making sure that Taiwan’s interests is their first — and only — concern. Just as Trump has his “America first” foreign policy, Taiwan’s president must place Taiwan first.

An attempt to understand the US government’s and opposition’s caution and dislike of China’s ambitions based on the US Republican Party’s conservative values and Trump’s “America first” policy must begin with an attempt to revive the US economy.

Reducing taxes, encouraging investment, removing controls and restrictions on trade, fair trade, attacking the Chinese economy and strengthening national defense have become characteristic of Trump’s policies.

Taiwan’s economy is in dire need of resuscitation and transformation, and national security is threatened by Chinese infiltration, while the nation’s foreign policy is under pressure, and its status still has to be normalized.

All these challenges mean that the nation must elect a strong president who places Taiwan first and does everything in their power to protect the nation.

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