Thu, Sep 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Consider economic stability before attacking me: Hsieh

NEGATIVE EFFECTS The premier pointed to the stock market's rise after he was able to address the legislature as proof of the public's sensitivity

BY JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said a smoother relationship between the Cabinet and the legislature would help stabilize the nation, and particularly its economy and markets.

"After I eventually stepped onto the podium [Tuesday], the stock market index immediately shot up," Hsieh said. "That means our politics did worry our people."

Hsieh was blocked by pan-blue camp legislators for a week from delivering his required Cabinet report to the legislature. The premier said that political attacks against him at the legislature were in bounds, but that such attacks should not go so far as to negatively impact the entire nation.

"The premier's being questioned or attacked by opposition party lawmakers is normal in a democratic mechanism. But, it is more important for all politicians to do their best to maintain a stable situation," Hsieh said.

Hsieh made his remarks during the opening speech of the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning. He also reiterated his promise that Chinese Petroleum Corp's gas prices will remain steady for at least three months.

The regular press conference after the meeting -- one of the only chances reporters have to get direct responses from the Cabinet on public issues -- was canceled yesterday. Cabinet Secretary-General and Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who came to the press room late in the afternoon, said he had to skip the normal press briefing to attend two important meetings.

Cho was promoted to Cabinet secretary-general on Sept. 13, but was assigned to continue on in his second position as Cabinet Spokesman as well. At that time, Cho said he would organize a "spokesperson's group" to provide "high quality" services to the media. Cho had hinted on Tuesday that his new "spokesperson's group" would present an "all new style of press conference" yesterday, but the innovative event did not materialize.

Reporters have criticized Cho's plan for a team of spokespeople because they are concerned that not all will be qualified or well-informed enough to speak for the Cabinet. Indeed, Cho himself said yesterday that his team members were not yet ready to hold their own briefing.

Reporters also worry that having too many spokespeople will give the "team" an excuse to postpone responses to certain issues.

Cho told reporters yesterday that in the past couple of weeks he had begun to ask his group members to spend more time with the premier. He said that the group can initially provide professional comment on their specific issues of expertise.

"However, we are also considering hiring a professional spokesman," the Cabinet spokesman said. "This person could be one of them or could be somebody outside the Cabinet team."

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