Mon, Mar 03, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lin wins praise for interpersonal skills

MOUTHPIECE Government officials say Lin Chia-lung's educational background, his speaking and negotiating skills, and his calm demeanor make him an ideal spokesman

By Ko Shu-Ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lin Chia-lung, newly appointed Cabinet spokesman.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

Newly appointed Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has set out to prove that he has a lot more to offer than just good looks.

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

Lin, 38, holds a doctorate in politics from Yale University. He also obtained masters degrees in politics and philosophy from Yale.

He has been teaching politics at National Chung Cheng University since he returned to Taiwan from the US in 1998. He was appointed senior adviser to the National Security Council in May 2000 when the DPP came into to power.

Director-General of the Government Information Office Arthur Iap (葉國興), who was assigned by the premier to screen potential candidates for the position, praised Lin as someone who is composed and possesses great interpersonal skills.

"He's one of the few candidates who met the four criteria set down by the premier," he said.

The four criteria are: impressive educational background, extensive experience in the civil sector, familiarity with the media and a calm demeanor.

In addition to his good looks and impressive educational background, Lin is known for his negotiating skills and eloquence.

As a leader of the student movement during his university years, Lin was under surveillance and banned from taking leave during his two-year compulsory military service between 1988 and 1990.

He was able to persuade his supervisor to let him take a few days off to participate in a student demonstration taking place at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in 1989.

He also played a significant role in persuading Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) to stump for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election.

As a Nobel laureate in science, Lee was capable of tipping the scales in the presidential election. Although Lee eventually turned down Chen's offer to assume the post of premier, Lee did help garner support from undecided voters.

DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), who has been friends with Lin for more than a decade, said that he was particularly impressed with Lin's efforts to organize his intellectual friends to do something meaningful for the nation.

"A perfect example is the establishment of the Taiwan Thinktank," Lee said. "I remember when he was at school, he was a member of the school's China Study Association. In addition to keeping close contact with association members while he was in school, he got them together after graduation and after they had returned to Taiwan. That's how the Taiwan Thinktank came about."

Established in December 2001, the Taiwan Thinktank is regarded as an influential resource for Chen's administration. Lin also chairs the think tank's Asia Pacific Forum, which holds irregular closed-door meetings to solicit opinions from academics and politicians.

Lee went to the same university as Lin and chaired the China Study Association. He was expelled by the school three times because of his pro-independence views. He was eventually kicked out in 1986 when Lin began his studies at the same school.

Chung Cha-pin (鍾佳濱), office manager for the chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs, said that he was not surprised to see Lin become the government's spokesman.

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