Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 1 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Candidates outline visions for Taiwan

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:With the whole nation watching, the three presidential candidates put forth their respective plans, hopes and fears for the country’s future

By Chris Wang, Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporters

Tsai’s proposed “Taiwan consensus” is “an empty idea that nobody understands” and it could raise instability and place Taiwan in danger, he said.

The “three noes policy” he has been advocating and the institutionalized negotiations with China have all been mainstream public opinion recognized by most people, Ma said.

Soong said it was essential for China to deal with Taiwan peacefully, patiently and sincerely by allowing Taiwan to sign free-trade agreements (FTA) with other countries following the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China in June last year.

Soong appeared to allow for the possibility of establishing a “Taiwan consensus,” saying that he has always supported transparency and public monitoring of cross-strait policy.

“We do have some shared opinions on the cross-strait issues as to how we demand Beijing to respect the people of Taiwan to be their own masters and how not to be provocative toward China,” he said.

On a question asked by CNA relating to Taiwan’s foreign policy, Ma said his administration had made many efforts to achieve a wide range of international participation, such as participation in the World Health Assembly and the Government Procurement Agreement, and bidding and winning the right to host the 2017 World University Games.

Tsa said Taiwan’s economic prowess should play a lead role in Taiwan’s foreign relations and pledged that her administration would establish a strong negotiating team that is able to dominate agenda-setting in multilateral international organizations of which Taiwan is already a member or is trying to participate, such as the WTO, APEC and the proposed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

The high-energy international participation of Taiwan’s volunteers and non-governmental organizations could not be overlooked either, she added.

When asked by Liberty Times to outline her economic policies for the next four years, Tsai said that if she were elected, she would tackle the nation’s financial deficit while expanding domestic demand to encourage the development of local industries and create more job opportunities.

“Only by handling the financial deficit can we use the money more effectively and help revive the economy. We also need to expand domestic demand and increase our global competitiveness by connecting local business with the global economy,” she said.

Tsai proposed to set up an agricultural fund of NT$100 billion (US$3.32 billion) to provide financial assistance to farmers and promote the development of local business.

She also promised to invest NT$40 billion in the next four years to establish a long-term care mechanism that would offer better caretaking services to the elderly and the disabled, and ease the burden on their families.

In discussing his economic platform, Soong proposed developing strategic industries relative to lifestyle, ecology and production, and said it was imperative for the nation to enhance economic ties with China, the US and Europe through the ECFA.

Ma, when questioned by the Liberty Times over his capability of reaching his economic goals if he is re-elected, acknowledged his failure to carry out the “6-3-3” policy he laid out in his 2008 election campaign, but stressed the government’s success in reviving the economy despite the global economic slowdown.

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