Mon, Mar 27, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Chen gets down to work

ADVISORY COMMITTEE A framework for the new government's national policies and selection criteria for members of the next Cabinet were discussed at a first meeting held yesterday by the President-elect's group of most trusted advisors

By Liu Shao-Hua  /  STAFF REPORTER

President-elect Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) National Policy Advisory Committee (NPAC) met for the first time yesterday, to decide on a blueprint for the next government and criteria for selecting the new Cabinet.

The group was, however, tight-lipped about exactly what was discussed at the meeting and who would be named to the new executive.

Committee leader Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who is most people's candidate for the position of premier, said he was still undecided as to whether he would take the position, if formally offered.

Lee stressed to reporters after the meeting that the NPAC was an ad hoc committee and that there had been general talk about national issues, current problems and developments. The economy and cultural issues rated highly, he said.

"We have some consensus on some issues," Lee said, adding there would be more intensive meetings in two or three days to firm up policy and personnel decisions.

The committee announced just two decisions: Firstly, that the NPAC was a temporary structure; secondly, what criteria would be adopted for selecting the premier and other Cabinet members.

This conclusion was announced on behalf of the committee by Nita Ing (殷琪), chair of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp and Continental Engineering Corp.

"The NPAC's function is to assist a smooth transition of power and to suggest a suitable Cabinet. It is defined as a non-standing and non-framed organization," Ing said.

She also outlined some basic requirements for the new government executives.

"The candidates [for Cabinet posts] must practice the idea of `government for all people, as well as clean and upright governance (全民政府, 清流共治).'"

"We will look at all candidates regardless of their political affiliation. The new government team has to maintain a stable regime," Ing said.

"We won't exclude any candidate who meets these criteria; above all, of course, Lee [Yuan-tseh] is included."

Lee said President-elect Chen, who attended part of the meeting, had talked with its members about national development.

"I am happy we had such a deep discussion," Lee said.

After Chen left the meeting no further headway was made on the make-up of the Cabinet, and Lee would not give away any more clues on whether he would take the post of premier. Both Chen and his advisors, however, are believed to be still trying to persuade him to take on the role.

Stan Shih (施振榮), CEO of the Acer Group, backed Lee for premier, saying the Nobel laureate was the best candidate and the most appropriate person to handle cross-strait affairs.

"Although most committee members want Lee, it hasn't [yet] worked out that way. It depends on the person himself [Lee] and whether or not he nods his head in assent," said Academia Sinica sociologist Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), who is also currently a presidential advisor.

After the closed-door meeting yesterday, no further questions were taken from the press.

There were 14 members and Chen who attended this first NPAC meeting yesterday.

Other members included: Lee, Ing, Shih, Hisao, former National Security Advisor Chen Pi-chao (陳必照), Evergreen Group chief Chang Jung-fa (張榮發), Chi Mei president Shi Wen-lung (許文龍), president of I-Mei Food Co Ltd, Kao Chih-ming (高志明), E Sun Bank chairman Lin Chung-hsiung (林鐘雄), vice chairman of the China Motor Corporation Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), National Chiao-tung University president Chang Chun-yen (張俊彥), National Chung Cheng University principal Cheng Kuo-shun (鄭國順), president of the National Institute of the Arts Chiu Kuen-liang (邱坤良), and Chen Chi-nan (陳其南), dean of the college of humanities and social science at National Chiao-tung University.

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