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Sun, Jan 14, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Hsiao Bi-khim to run for legislature

NEW DIRECTION Having weathered two recent scandals, the young aide to the president says she's ready to enter mainstream politics as a lawmaker

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER


Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) interpreter, yesterday officially announced her decision to participate in this December's legislative elections.

Hsiao said that if elected as a legislator, her dream to work for Taiwan would be fulfilled, and that the nation would benefit from her expertise in foreign relations.

"Through my education and growing experience ... I have established the groundwork for my choice to work in the political arena in Taiwan," Hsiao said at Tainan Theological College and Seminary (台南神學院), where her father served as the school's president.

"I chose to come back to my home city of Tainan to announce a very crucial personal decision -- that is, to join the DPP primary in a bid to run for a seat representing overseas Chinese communities."

Hsiao has been a focus of media attention over recent months after allegations surfaced in November that she and the president were having an affair.

Subsequently, she was attacked by opposition lawmakers for holding a post at the Presidential Office and at the same time retaining dual citizenship. At yesterday's press conference, she said she felt frustrated at these recent incidents and had thought of withdrawing from her career in politics.

"I take my work very seriously, but I did not expect that my low-key job as a presidential aide would draw such ferocious attacks from the opposition. Facing the storms of criticism, I thought of dropping out of politics," she said.

"But in retrospect, I know what we enjoy today is the result of the painstaking efforts made by our senior politicians.

"Now I feel I should not give up, and instead should take more concrete actions to fulfill my ideas to serve my country."

Having worked at the DPP's Department of International Affairs she currently is employed as an advisor to the president on diplomatic policy.

Hsiao said she has gradually proved her capabilities in dealing with international relations, and now thinks that helping the government win a greater standing in the international community is one of her key goals.

The DPP's Chiu I-jen (邱義仁), secretary-general to the Cabinet, and DPP lawmakers Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and William Lai (賴清德) attending yesterday's gathering as a token of the DPP's support for Hsiao.

Chiu said he appreciated her professional skills in diplomacy and hoped that Hsiao could find new ways to broaden Taiwan's international relations.

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