Tue, May 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT elects to boycott conference

NO SHOW The party will not attend the Economic Development Advisory Conference because it believes its conclusions won't be implemented

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus decided yesterday that it will boycott next month's conference on national economic development, even though two KMT heavyweights have already agreed to serve as co-convenors of the event.

The caucus said it would not attend the conference because the government has still not implemented decisions reached at the last such conference in 2001 -- in particular, a consensus to move ahead on cross-strait direct economic links.

"We have decided to boycott the conference as we don't think the conclusions reached at the conference will be implemented by the government," KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said. "For example, one conclusion reached at the 2001 Economic Development Advisory Conference was to implement the policy of cross-strait direct links, but the pan-greens are still blocking the `direct links clause' from being reviewed in the legislature."

Pan was referring to the pan-blue camp's proposed amendments to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), which would see all restrictions on cross-strait transport lifted three months after the amendments become law. The pan-green camp has twice blocked the amendments from review on the legislative floor, saying they would undermine the government's authority to set cross-strait policy.

The KMT caucus made the decision to boycott the conference in a straw vote yesterday, with 25 out of 30 KMT lawmakers present voting against participating in the event. People First Party legislators are due to make a decision on whether they will participate in the conference at a meeting today.

Meanwhile, Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) announced at a press conference that Chairman of the Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) would be the third convenor of the economic conference, which is scheduled for June 18 and 19 and aims to forge a broad consensus on a national economic development strategy. Siew is a former premier and former KMT vice chairman, and will join the other two conference conveners, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Hu said that Siew agreed to take on the job thanks to Wang's encouragement.

During the press conference held by Government Information Office to publicize the conference agenda, officials proposed the idea of establishing a unified holding company to manage all of the nation's assets, and said the idea would be discussed at the conference.

"The nation's assets total about NT$6.6231 trillion [US$207 billion] as of 2005, among which the value of national land is NT$3.9518 trillion and the value of national negotiable securities is NT$1.0291 trillion," Minister of Finance Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) said.

Currently, different types of national assets are managed by different government departments, Lyu said. Establishing a government holding company could help the government coordinate the management of its assets and thus enhance the government's management performance, Lyu said.

However, some KMT legislators said they doubted the benefits of a government holding company, adding that it runs counter to the government's privatization plans.

"Considering the many cases of alleged corruption within the government, will anyone feel at ease letting a government holding company manage all of the nation's assets?" KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said at a meeting of the legislature's Budget and Final Account Committee.

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