Mon, Jun 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu acts as diva on global stage

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu looks at artwork in the ancient city of Antigua, Guatemala, yesterday. The wood carving symbolizes the friendship between Taiwan and Guatemala.


Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) should continue to develop her role as "Taiwan's voice to the world" as she gears up for the 2008 presidential election campaign, analysts say.

While most potential candidates are stuck debating domestic issues, Lu's diplomatic efforts have allowed her to develop a reputation in the international community.

"Elected as the first woman vice president in Taiwan, Lu's experiences and achievements are significant to the international community," said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at Academia Sinica. "She is the most proper figure to shoulder the responsibility of speaking for Taiwan."

Hsu said that since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been criticized for lacking talent in foreign affairs, the country should value Lu, especially as she has worked to develop new policies and to hold events to promote Taiwan in the international community.

"Her appeal for `soft power,' the idea of establishing Taiwan as a world center for NGOs and her advocacy for integrating democratic countries in the Asia-Pacific region into a peace organization have shown that her ideas are ahead of other political stars in Taiwan," Hsu said.

He said, however, that Lu lacks concrete policy proposals, such as how to make use of "soft power" to counter China and how to enhance interaction with countries led by women.

"What she needs during the next four years is to make a foreign speech to sum up her ideas, especially expounding Taiwan's situation, to make herself become a national symbol," Hsu said.

National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Secretary-General Parris Chang (張旭成) said that while Beijing has tried to brand Taiwan's leaders as troublemakers, Lu should use her creativity to promote the country's image as a contributor to world peace.

"Lu can arrange more unofficial trips to Nordic and Pacific countries, where she can make friends with women prime ministers and party chairwomen," Chang said.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), former deputy secretary-general to the Presidential Office and once responsible for arranging Lu's state visits, said the vice president is good at communicating with foreign leaders.

"The vice president does not need aides to prepare her scripts because she can easily deliver a graceful and profound speech," Wu said.

"People may feel that she shows off, but I would like to say that few Taiwanese politicians can take the spotlight at international events like she does," he said.

Leading a delegation on behalf of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to visit Taiwan's allies in Central America -- her seventh foreign tour since she took office in 2000 -- Lu today celebrates her 60th birthday with overseas Taiwanese in San Francisco, where is stopping over on her return trip to Taiwan.

On the eve of her birthday, reporters peppered Lu with questions about whether she would run in the next presidential election in a bid to become the country's first female head of state.

"It is regrettable that Taiwan's media seem to be interested only in who the next president will be and pay no attention to the incumbent one," Lu said.

"Politics is a path beset with difficulties. Our job is to clear thorny ground, however the media is busy chasing rainbows and ignoring those who work hard to pave the way," Lu said.

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