Former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) returned to Taiwan early yesterday morning to a greeting by the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and members of Hsieh's campaign team at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The occasion marked the first time Su and Hsieh had met face to face after Hsieh announced Su as his running mate on Wednesday.
At a press conference at the airport shortly after Su's arrival, Su said he understood that winning next year's presidential poll would be a tough "mission" for the DPP.
"We have to respond to supporters' expectations to fire their enthusiasm [for the election] and boost [the DPP's] morale," he said.
Su left for the US on July 29 -- just a few hours before Hsieh returned to Taiwan from a 10-day US visit -- to show that he had no intention to compete with former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), who had expressed interest in the vice presidential position.
"I didn't expect all these things to happen in this chapter of my life," Su said, adding that he had felt uncertain when Hsieh invited him to be the DPP's vice presidential candidate.
"[But] when I turned on my cellphone, I saw there were many text and voice messages from good friends and people I respect. They all encouraged me to shoulder the responsibility," he said.
Su said he agreed to run with Hsieh out of concern for Taiwan and the party, rather than for himself.
"Someone once said that a person will not feel happy unless he or she returns to his or her hometown," Hsieh said. "For Su and me, Taiwan is our hometown."
"We will share the joy with those who are happy and grieve with those who are sad. This is what the Taiwanese people expect of Su as well as what he is determined to do after he returned [to Taiwan]," Hsieh said.
President Chen Shui-bian (
Yeh is also expected to be present at the meeting, the source said.
Yeh who was named by Chen as the Presidential Office secretary-general on Friday and will take office tomorrow.
In related news, Hsieh, in a separate setting later yesterday, reiterated his opposition to the idea of forming a Taiwan-China common market but said he supports proposals for tourist exchanges and chartered flights between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Hsieh said he opposes the proposal by his election rival, Ma Ying-jeou (
However, he said Taiwan can expand chartered cross-strait flights that operate during holidays and festivals such as Lunar New Year.
He also said he agreed with proposals to allow Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan and to permit Chinese investors to buy real estate in Taiwan.
While pursuing economic development, Taiwan should at the same time make efforts to make the people happy, he said at a workshop held in Taichung by a local industry association.
Taiwan's economic problems are mostly caused by a host of political disputes, Hsieh said, adding that he would first try to settle a series of conflicts between the pan-green and pan-blue political camps before focusing on helping his party win a majority in the Legislative Yuan, which would help the government carry out its policies.