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Wed, Jan 19, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Lien appeals to business for campaign support

STABILITY CARD The vice president played on the themes of experience and vision to a gathering of business leaders; and took a few swipes at opponents

By Oliver Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President and KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday turned his attention to the business community, promoting himself as an experienced and reliable candidate when it comes to economic and financial policy-making.

Lien told a gathering of businesspeople in Taipei that when selecting national leaders, experience and vision must be taken into account. He and running mate Premier Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) have all that is needed, he said.

"Siew and I have served in public positions for 30 years," Lien said. "We are deeply experienced and we have vision. We are the most reliable," Lien said.

Some business leaders at the gathering said they support Lien because national stability is good for business. But others said flatly that they would not vote for him because he seemed lacking in any kind of zeal for reform.

"I support Lien because he will bring stability," said Paul Wang (王川傑), a construction company executive. "A stable environment is what businessmen need."

Some said experience is most important.

"At a time when Taiwan is about to enter the World Trade Organization, traditional industries here are facing severe challenges," said Alfred Chen (陳飛龍), chairman of Namchow Chemical Industrial Co. "We need someone like Lien who is well experienced in this field to lead the country."

But some participants were less complimentary.

"Being here does not mean that we are going to vote for Lien," one man told the Taipei Times. "They want us to show up, so we are here."

"They" were apparently the hosts of the event, including the National Federation of Industries, the General Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises. Business organizations in Taiwan traditionally are close to the KMT.

Lien also took the opportunity to attack his opponents, without identifying them by name.

"In a presidential election we should compare who is better, but not who is worse," Lien said. "It is no good to wage a war of words. Accusing others of being bad does not make yourself better."

It seemed, however, that Lien was pointing a finger at independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), who in the last couple of days has been quoting President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) as saying: "Lien is a bit lazy. He has to work harder."

Soong claimed that Lee had told this to many senior government officials many times.

Lien had his supporters to counter such insinuations yesterday.

"I have known Lien since before we were wearing short pants," said Jeffery Koo (辜濂松), chairman of the National Association of Industry & Commerce and chairman of the Chinatrust group.

"I can assure you that Lien is an honest person. He has never cheated anyone," Koo said.

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