Tue, Feb 25, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Yu introduces new Cabinet speaker

STRATEGIC HIRE The premier appointed Lin Chia-lung, a senior adviser to the National Security Council, to be the Cabinet's bridge to the public and the media

By Ko Shu-Ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun, left, introduces the Cabinet's new spokesman, Lin Chia-lung, the senior adviser to the National Security Council, to reporters at a press conference yesterday.

PHOTO: LIAO RAY-SHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday appointed Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), senior adviser to the National Security Council, as the Cabinet's new spokesman.

The position has been empty since Jan. 29, when former spokesman Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) accepted the position of the head of the Overseas Chinese Commission.

Since then, Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) has been temporarily acting as the spokesperson.

Describing Lin as a "handsome and photogenic" young man, Yu said Lin is eminently qualified for the job because of his impressive educational and political background.

Lin, 36, holds a doctorate in politics from Yale University. He also obtained masters degrees in politics and philosophy from Yale.

In addition to his full-time job at the National Security Council, Lin also teaches politics at the National Chung Cheng University.

Lin is also one of the founders of the Taiwan Thinktank, established in December 2001. The think tank is regarded as an influential resource for Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration.

Talking about his expectations for Lin, Yu said that he hopes Lin would act as a bridge between the government and the media.

"In addition to explaining the government initiatives to the public, I expect him to serve the media, who the Cabinet is supposed to befriend," he said.

"I hope he can serve as my eyes and ears and convey the opinions of the public and media," Yu said.

Yu took the opportunity at yesterday's press conference to dismiss speculation that Lin's appointment has something to do with next year's presidential election.

"When I established the position of Cabinet spokesperson last year, I wanted the person to help explain to the public what we're doing. That principle remains unchanged," he said.

Yu said he started asking Lin if he was interested in the job about two weeks ago.

"He had turned me down several times, but I'm glad that he eventually accepted the offer," Yu said.

Flanked by Yu and Liu at the press conference, Lin said that his final decision had a lot to do with the encouragement of his family, especially his wife.

"When I first entered the political circle, I had an agreement with her that I would assume only those government positions that don't require any media exposure," he said. "Originally, she didn't want me to take the job but eventually she thought that somebody has to do the job and that I might do a good job."

Lin added that Chen also played a key role in his decision-making.

"He encouraged me to take up the job because he said he believed I could do it," Lin said.

Lin said that he would like to be open to the media and inform them of government policies as early as possible.

"I'd also like to develop a sound relationship with the media, both publicly and privately," he said.

While Chuang described his former job as "the premier's fax machine," Lin said that he will take a more pro-active approach.

"Instead of passively responding to media reports, I'll take the initiative to contact the media, especially during a crisis," he said.

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