Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Promote Taiwan through `soft' issues, Hu says

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taichung city mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday that the problem with cross-strait relations is China's refusal to separate resolvable issues from the hot potato of Taiwanese politics: independence.

"We should be able to work out `softer' issues with China, such as cultural exchanges and tourism," said Hu. "However, China's attitude is resistant. They refuse to address anything else until the difficult issue of Taiwan's sovereignty is resolved."

Hu made his remarks at a discussion seminar on improving Taiwan's international image in Taipei yesterday as part of the Taiwanese branch of the renowned International Association of Students in Economics and Management's (AIESEC) Asia-Pacific leadership seminar and local committee meeting.

Yesterday's discussion, also included guest speakers Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), president of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research; Landis Hotel head Stanley Yen (嚴長壽); and Atelligent Global Consulting founder Huang Ho-ming (黃河明).

Drawing upon his past experience as foreign minister, Hu shared memories of numerous instances where Chinese pressure had limited international sympathy for Taiwan to empty words of condolence. To solve this problem, speakers yesterday emphasized tourism and technology as areas in which to foster good impressions of Taiwan in the international arena.

The key to the successful international promotion of Taiwan will depend on the presentation of the nation's youth, said Hu.

He urged people to stop talking about politics and instead focus on the character of Taiwan's rising generation, which is becoming more energetic, and globalized.

The discussion was the first event of the annual conference, which will run through Aug. 14 in Taipei.

To learn more about conference activities, see the event's webpage at www.aplds2004taiwan.net.

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