Sun, Jan 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Su-Tsai pairing gets favorable response

NEW PREMIER Most observers and politicians reacted positively to their appointment, although a PFP legislator said he was concerned Tsai may tighten cross-strait policy

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The appointment of Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as premier and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as his deputy received generally positive feedback from both local and foreign politicians and political observers.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) publicly affirmed Su's decision to appoint Tsai as his deputy, saying his decision showed respect for women.

The two can help each other since their areas of expertise are in different areas, she added

Su, whose nickname is ``electrical fireball (電火球)'' -- earned when he was a democracy campaigner in the 1980s -- is an experienced politician, while Tsai's expertise is in international affairs and cross-strait relations. She has a doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"Females always notice things that males cannot. It is a perfect balance," Lu said.

But Lu also reminded her fellow politician not to become arrogant after taking up her post.

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that while he would expect Su and Tsai to take action, he was worried that Tsai may tighten the nation's China policy, as she was the architect of former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "no haste, be patient" cross-strait policy.

"When [Tsai] was chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, the president always took her advice to design national policies toward China," Liu said. "I am really concerned that our China policy will be tightened and become stricter again now that she will become vice premier."

PFP caucus whip Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) had a different view. Hwang said that whether policies toward China are tightened or loosened is up to the president.

"It is the president's call, not a vice premier's," Hwang said. "I sincerely wish Su and Tsai good luck. I also hope they can do something for the people."

In an interview with the Central News Agency (CNA), former US ambassador to China James Lilley said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had made "a correct decision" in appointing Su as the new premier.

"[Outgoing Premier Frank] Hsieh [謝長延] is an ideal person for the premier's office. But, if he needs to be replaced for whatever reason, Su would be the best choice because Su is an energetic character and is also a person with lots of fresh ideas," Lilley was quoted as saying.

Alan Romberg, senior associate and Director of the East Asia Program of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a US think tank based in Washington, told CNA that Su and Tsai will make a "formidable combination" in terms of intelligence, talent and experience.

A key factor in their ability to have an impact will be the relationship between the president, the premier, the legislature and the DPP, Romberg said.

Another factor will be how Su, Hsieh and other potential DPP candidates for the 2008 presidential poll view the links between those various nodes of power, especially on the question of who is going to set policy, he added.

The Su-Tsai pairing was also regarded by some as a potential combination to represent the DPP in the 2008 presidential election.

In a letter to the editor in the Chinese-language newspaper the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times' sister paper, Chen Chao-jian (陳朝建), an assistant professor in the Public Affairs Department at Ming Chuan University, said that Su and Tsai may be the best candidates for the DPP in 2008 because they have "the best reputations and are popular enough" to compete with pan-blue superstar and potential presidential candidate Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

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