Taiwan needs to strengthen economic liberalization to deepen democratic politics, and the government and the opposition parties should end confrontation immediately and work together to revitalize the economy, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said yesterday.
Siew made the remarks in a speech at a forum hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the second of a series of lectures to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the government-affiliated organization headed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
Discussing the nation’s path to economic transformation, Siew, hailed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as the “designer of Taiwan’s economy,” said the nation is facing a challenging transition from over-dependence on original equipment manufacturing and exports, and said the government and the opposition parties must work together to promote economic liberalization.
“To survive the crisis of marginalization in the trend of regional economic integration, the government and the opposition parties must work together to carry out measures to revitalize our economy,” he said.
The former vice president said Taiwan’s economic development and politics are greatly influenced by cross-strait relations, and that his proposal to establish a cross-strait common market would promote a model of peaceful development across the Strait.
“The proposal received a positive response, and is being implemented by the government. It shows that promoting cross-strait economic exchanges as an entry point for long-term cross-strait relations is the right path,” he said.
Siew advocated the establishment of the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation in 2001, and the foundation obtained membership at the Boao Forum for Asia in 2002. Siew serves as the honorary chairman of the foundation and has attended the event seven times, including the one this year, in which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Siew expressed concerns about growing confrontations between the ruling and opposition parties, and increasing opportunism in politics. He called for more consensus in the legislature on cross-strait policies and economic revitalization, and said leaders in all political parties should put aside differences and jointly promote democracy and economic transition.
“The lack of consensus on cross-strait policies has deepened confrontations between the political parties, and reaching a consensus on the issue is an unavoidable task for the government,” he said.