Tue, Dec 31, 2002 - Page 2 News List

A turbulent year

2002 may well be a year politician's would rather forget, as governmental difficulties, press intrusion and mass protests made for a tumultuous 12 months

The elections were billed as a mid-term exam for the struggling DPP government. In the end, all they showed -- by their relatively low turnouts -- was Taiwan's increasing weariness with party politics. -- By Sandy Huang

3.Chen's speech causes cross-strait trouble

When President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) uttered his "one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait" statement in August he probably had not predicted the effect it would have on cross-strait relations. Though not as controversial as former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "state-to-state" call three years earlier, the speech caused an increase in tensions between the two sides of the Strait despite general agreement that it was made without consulting members of his staff -- which was definitely not the case with Lee's controversial message.

The impacts of the two statements were also quite different. Chen's received only subdued criticism from China, while Lee's almost brought the two sides to the brink of war.

When Lee brought up the issue of "state-to-state," which demanded that any future talks between the two rivals would be held on a state-to-state basis, in July, 1999, China responded immediately with a series of military exercise.

In contrast, Chen's "one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait" statement did not provoke any military intimidation from China.

China was launching at the time a large-scale exercise off Fujian Province, but the movement was a routine series of drills held annually. China's response to Chen's statement was mainly well-controlled criticism from its state media.

Despite this, Chen still had to take action to prevent the situation from worsening -- so he sent Mainland Affairs Council Chairperson Tsai Yin-wen (蔡英文) to the US to explain the matter.

Tsai, who contributed a lot to the formation of Lee's "state-to-state" message, was counted on again to deal with another inflammatory statement.

It has yet to be seen how Chen's "one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait" statement has affected cross-strait relations, but it is clear that the statement had little impact militarily. -- Staff Writer

4.Financial reform falls through amid protest

Despite vowing to consolidate financial reforms this year, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), in mid November, caved into pressure and unilaterally suspended the Ministry of Finance's (MOF) plan to reform ailing credit units of farmers' and fishermen's associations.

Calling his own administration's policies into questions, the president's move failed to mollify the agriculture community who staged a 120,000-people protest on November 23.

The policy flip-flop ended up hurting the DPP government's credibility on financial reforms.

A day before the demonstration, Premier Yu Shyi-kun submitted his resignation along with those of his two ministers' -- Finance Minister Lee Yung-san (李庸三) and chairman of the Council of Agriculture Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗) -- to shoulder political responsibilities over the fiasco.

Approving Lee's and Fan's resignations, Yu later remained in his post, putting an end to the MOF's efforts to implement a three-tier risk-control mechanism, which took effect in early September, to regulate credit units' business operations based on their non-performing loan ratio.

This story has been viewed 5163 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top