Sat, Mar 16, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Premier sidesteps thorny official-languages issue

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that all languages spoken by Taiwan's people are "Taiwanese" and they are all equally important as communication tools.

But to avoid stoking ethnic tensions, the premier emphasized that he preferred to put aside the discussion of whether to make Hokkien the second official language -- as proposed by TSU lawmakers.

"I consider it better-advised not to address the issue before the nation arrives at a consensus," Yu said, responding to questions raised by DPP lawmaker Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) in the legislature.

The premier said he recognized the importance of languages in maintaining cultural heritage and that, in this regard, none is superior to the other.

"All the languages used by the people are equally important," Yu said. "In this way, they are all Taiwanese, or official languages."

Most Taiwanese dialects are only spoken and have no written symbols.

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