Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Rebound more than `just a feeling'

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Trying to head off opposition accusations that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has mismanaged the economy, Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday said that Taiwan is standing at the crossroads between corruption and inefficiency or reform and prosperity.

"Everything is made possible because of the peaceful transfer of power in 2000," Yu said. "Economic revitalization is not just a feeling, it's actually happening. We are outperforming the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration and proving the opposition's allegations that our achievements over the past four years are zero are not only wrong but also a big lie."

Yu made the remarks yesterday morning during a year-end press conference held at the Executive Yuan.

Likening the past four years to a bumpy airplane ride, Yu said that the peaceful transfer of power meant the country could become more beautiful and prosperous.

"We began the historical voyage four years ago when the Democratic Progressive Party came to power. Now we've flown through layers of clouds and can see the sun and mountains. Well continue to lead our people, flying at full speed to a better future."

Although the DPP-led government has encountered various difficulties and frustrations over the years, Yu said that it was time to reap the harvest.

"To believe in Taiwan is to believe in ourselves. I'm confident that we'll make a difference," Yu said.

According to Yu, the overall economic growth rate is estimated to reach 3.15 percent this year despite the SARS outbreak and US-led invasion against Iraq. The jobless rate last month fell to its lowest level in more than two years and is expected to further fall to 4.5 percent next year. The nation's foreign reserves hit a record high of US$202.8 billion in November.

The World Economic Forum placed Taiwan fifth in the world and first in Asia in a competitiveness survey of 102 countries, Yu said, and the nation is better off in terms of the gap between the rich and poor.

In addition to boasting about the DPP-led government's resolve in pushing for reform, executing policies, managing the country and ensuring social justice, Yu lambasted the KMT and People First Party (PFP) for making empty political promises to woo voters in next March's presidential election.

"We could have competed with them by writing bigger checks, but we don't want to do that because we're a responsible government and make only feasible promises conducive to the best interests of the nation and the people," he said.

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