Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lin Hsin-yi a new premier? It's only 'wild speculation'

By Huang Tai-lin and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed media reports that the head of the semi-official Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), will replace Premier Yu Shyi-kun in the pending Cabinet reshuffle.

The Department of Public Affairs at the Presidential Office delivered the statement via text message to reporters. It stated that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had not finalized his lineup for the new Cabinet.

A local newspaper yesterday reported that Chen had chosen a new premier. The story said Yu would step down and be replaced by Lin.

The departmental statement asked that "wild speculation" over the matter cease.

Lin served as Yu's vice premier in the last Cabinet, and assumed the ITRI chairman's post in October.

Noted for expertise in economic affairs and hands-on experience in the private sector, Lin previously served as minister of economic affairs and chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

Lin is currently serving as convenor of the president's eight-member economic advisory panel.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) yesterday questioned the merit of Lin's contributions in office, arguing that it was on his watch as economics minister that Taiwan's economy "began to decline."

KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said that if Lin was really Chen's choice for premier, it would only show that the DPP had no talent left to turn to.

Regarding speculation that he might succeed Chen, Yu yesterday said the move was not part of his career plan.

"Such a thought has never crossed my mind, nor have I made any plans to get the position," he said. "Before I lead the Executive Yuan in resigning in January, I'll continue in my post because the operations of the state cannot afford to stop for a single day."

Yu was speaking yesterday morning after attending the launch of a wind-power plant in Shihmen, Taipei County.

When asked for his thoughts on former vice premier Lin Hsin-i (林信義), Yu refused to comment.

"That's the constitutional duty of the president, and I believe all 23 million people of Taiwan will respect the final choice of the president," he said.

If he were to step down, Yu said he would not be upset because it was natural to bow out of the political arena.

He also said his meeting with Chen did not touch on such sensitive issues.

Chen also met yesterday with Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at the Presidential Office.

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