Outgoing Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said he supports direct transport links with China, a comment viewed as an open challenge to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who just a day earlier cautioned against such links.
Hsieh said he believes direct air traffic between Taiwan and China would be good for the country's businesspeople, in remarks during a meeting with local small-business owners at the Executive Yuan.
"What we really care about is what is actually good for Taiwan," he said. "From the business point of view, since Taiwan is an island nation, I think direct air traffic across the Taiwan Strait is good for the country," said Hsieh, adding that he knew his view of "certain policies is somewhat different from the person who is in power."
"Regarding cross-strait issues, we should make our own decisions instead of relying on what [Chinese officials] say," Hsieh added. "We should make our own decisions."
Hsieh said that one of the reasons he resigned was that the president regarded his "reconciliation and co-existence" approach with the opposition as a failure.
"From [the president's] speech on Jan. 1, I understood that he regarded the idea as a failure," Hsieh said. "I think I should take some responsibility for that as well."