Mon, Feb 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh outlines his strategy

Premier Frank Hsieh defines the goals of his Cabinet as promoting negotiation and stability. `Taipei Times' staff reporters Ko Shu-ling and Jimmy Chuang recently spoke with the former DPP chairman and Kaohsiung City mayor to find out more about his views on how he plans to approach `negotiation,' especially on divisive issues such as health insurance, tax reform and cross-strait relations

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Premier Frank Hsieh gestures during an interview with the Taipei Times on Friday.

PHOTO; SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Times: Although the government has claimed the case of semiconductor giant United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) is an isolated one, do you think existing laws are sufficient to deal with the matter? Is new legislation necessary? How does the government strike a balance between opening up China-bound investment and at the same time effectively managing it?

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷): For the sake of Taiwan's national interest, the export of high-tech know-how to mainland China is prohibited. However, businesses meeting certain requirements and obtaining government permission are allowed to invest in China.

As we all know, many businesspeople risked breaking the law when the "no haste, be patient" economic strategy was in place when former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) was president. I believe that at one point the number of recorded cases ran to more than 800.

Since the DPP took power, the government has gradually liberalized the China-bound investment policy. My thinking is that the law has to be thoroughly enforced and that it is only fair to punish law-breakers according to the existing legislation. However, if the number of illegal acts is extremely high, there might be something wrong with the law, which will then require examination.

As far as the UMC case goes, it seems to be an isolated incident. The information I have received is that it happened about two or three years ago and was reported to the authorities about six months ago. Prosecutors are targeting the areas that appear most serious, involving sensitive technology and large capital investment. Prosecutors are acting in accordance with the law and their actions are not motivated by politics as some have speculated.

I don't think it's necessary to amend any law or regulation because of one single case.

TT: The Executive Yuan previously tried to push a technology protection bill to limit the export of sensitive technology and skills. This was criticized by opposition parties as "technological martial law." Since the new legislature is scheduled to convene on Friday, will the government once again send the bill to the legislature?

Hsieh: If there are serious differences between the opposition and ruling parties, we will negotiate first, and try to resolve any difficulty before sending it again.

However, I think the crux of the problem lies in cross-strait relations. China continues to intimidate us with its military might and both sides are still enormously hostile. As long as China continues its military buildup, we will be forced to purchase more weapons. The volatility of the situation is bound to increase if improvements are not made.

Cross-strait tensions have led many people to conclude that it's inappropriate to allow high-tech companies to move to the mainland. I believe that if the enmity is removed, both sides can cooperate economically and co-exist with each other.

Effort must be made by both sides, however. I hope opposition parties and the Taiwanese public realize that the proposed arms package is desperately needed because China has targeted us with missiles.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and I have extended many goodwill gestures. What the public can do is to avoid using emotional or provocative language to aggravate China, no matter what their political views.

China's attitude is equally important. In addition to the missile buildup, China now plans to enact the "anti-secession" law. Although we are not entirely sure of its content, most believe it is meant to provide the legal basis for China to launch a military attack on Taiwan, which is in a state of separation. If the "anti-secession" law states that separation is not allowed, China can initiate hostilities at any time once the legislation is passed.

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