Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Academics weigh in on Frank Hsieh's new appointment

CNA , TAIPEI

Analysts yesterday said that the next Cabinet led by Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) will help improve cross-strait relations, temper confrontation between the ruling and opposition camps and balance regional development.

Lin De-chang (林德昌), director of the Institute of Mainland China Studies at National Sun Yat-sen University, said Hsieh has displayed pragmatism in dealing with China during his term as Kaohsiung mayor and that this attitude is expected to help further cross-strait relations.

For example, Lin said, Hsieh succeeded in breaking through Beijing's oppression, winning Kaohsiung the right to host the World Games 2009.

Also, Hsieh managed to avoid cross-strait political damage while actively promoting the establishment of a free trade zone at Kaohsiung Harbor and the development of the city's tourism and service industries, Lin said.

Lin said an "anti-secession law" that Beijing is expected to enact in March or April will bring cross-strait relations to a state of uncertainty and that the situation will be an immediate test for the new Cabinet.

Instead of trying to retaliate by pushing for the passage of a law against being "swallowed up" by China, Hsieh should lower his profile and extend some gesture of goodwill to Beijing, Lin said.

Lee Chin-tarn (李清潭), director of the Kaohsiung-based university's Department of Business Administration, said Hsieh must pay close attention to the challenges posed by China's vast market and its economic power to Taiwan.

In terms of financial and economic policies, Lee proposed that Hsieh work to enhance Taiwan's global competitiveness and strengthen its appeal to international investors, which according to Lee will require the recruitment of more economic professionals into the Cabinet.

Liao Da-chi (廖達琪), director of the university's Graduate Institute of Political Science, said Hsieh's flexible and well-rounded style, which she said has helped him overcome a number of difficulties in interacting with the opposition-dominated Kaohsiung City Council, will be very useful in improving cross-strait relations and relations between the ruling and opposition parties.

Liao said she believes Hsieh's appointment as premier will benefit the development of Kaohsiung in light of his connection to the city.

However, Bob Kuo (郭峰淵), director of the university's Department of Information Management, said he does not think Hsieh will enjoy much personal maneuverability as premier.

Kuo predicted that Hsieh's "Kaohsiung experience" will be overwhelmed by the strong Taipei-oriented perspective in the central government in six months after he assumes the premiership.

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