Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
"Vincent Siew will serve as the architect of a new plan to revive Taiwan's economy -- rather than simply the first person in line for succession to the presidency," Ma told a a news conference in Taipei.
Lauding Siew, currently the chairman of Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, as a great "pilot" that the nation desperately needed, Ma said he chose Siew for his rich experience and extensive contribution in the field of economics and diplomacy, along with his popularity among both the pan-blue and pan-green camps.
Accepting Ma's offer, Siew -- nicknamed "Smiley Old Siew" because of the smile he often wears -- vowed to work with Ma to promote economic growth.
"I agreed to join the presidential election because of the sense of mission that I have for the country and the people," Siew said.
"I share Mr. Ma's vision of putting the economy and public livelihood first, and so I will spare no effort in fighting for the KMT's victory in the presidential election in order to give the people a better life," he said.
Ma said he and Siew advocate an economic strategy that promotes "openness, pragmatism and moderation" and will seek to establish a cross-strait common market.
Ma, however, called on his running mate to reconsider his plan to attend an economic forum in China later this year given his new status.
Siew was born in Chiayi City in 1939. He worked for more than 10 years in foreign affairs and became the first Taiwan-born premier in 1997 under then president Lee Teng-hui (
Siew was also the running mate of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (
Responding to criticism about his choice of Siew, a politician from the older generation who already has one failed bid behind him, Ma said that choosing someone fresh and new was not his priority.
"I want to give people confidence, and I want to find a problem solver, not just some cool young person," Ma said during a media gathering.
Ma said he offered Siew the position before visiting India and Singapore on June 12, but didn't persuade him until a third visit.
Siew only agreed to serve as his vice president for one term and will retire to give way to the younger generation, Ma said.
Siew told the news conference that a cab driver, who stopped him on the road one day and urged him to "come out and save Taiwan's economy," helped him make up his mind.
KMT heavyweights, including Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
Wu Poh-hsiung said that Siew's background as an ethnic Taiwanese from southern Taiwan and economics expert would help Ma win the presidential election.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
"I am happy for him because he has found the most suitable candidate," Wang told reporters in a separate setting later yesterday, adding that he would campaign for the pair.
Wang said Siew would complement Ma because Siew enjoys popular support in central and southern Taiwan and is likely to attract swing voters and "light-green" voters for Ma.
When asked if Siew's age was a hindrance to making him a good running mate, Wang said "maturity of the mind" was all that matters.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (
On his choice of a running mate, Hsieh said he was not in a hurry to settle the matter and would probably not announce his choice before a party congress in August or September.
Hsieh's campaign office was more critical of Ma yesterday, calling Ma's announcement of his running mate a cover-up to distract attention from the KMT's planned amendment of its "black-gold exclusion clause," which is scheduled for discussion at the KMT's national congress today.
To allow Ma to take part in the party's presidential primary, the KMT removed its "black-gold exclusion clause" after Ma was indicted on corruption charges in February.
The party is seeking to further relax regulations so that only members who have lost their final appeal would be suspended.
DPP caucus whip Wang Tuoh (
"I think Siew has a good professional image. His choice is therefore a plus for the KMT," he said. "Unlike other KMT politicians who resented the DPP coming to power, Siew tried hard to present a positive image to the public."
People First Party Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (
ALSO SEE EDITORIAL:
TAIWAN PROTECTION MEASURE: US Army General Charles Flynn would not say where in the Asia-Pacific the missiles would be sent, but only that they would arrive in 2024 The US is to send medium-range missiles including the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk to the Asia-Pacific next year to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US military news Web site Defense One reported. The report cited comments US Army General Charles Flynn made during the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Nov. 19. “We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Flynn was quoted as saying. “In 24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will
UNUSUAL UPTICK: There are more flu-like illnesses in northern China than in the past 3 years, but data from Beijing showed that known pathogens are responsible Responding to an uptick in respiratory illnesses in China, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said it has instructed international airport and port quarantine centers to raise their alert levels, and plans to issue an alert to healthcare practitioners. The number of flu-like illnesses reported in northern China has been increasing for five consecutive weeks, and is higher than the same period in the past three years, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said. “According to the WHO’s latest statement, issued yesterday, information provided by Chinese government showed that the illnesses were mainly reported among children, and the illnesses were attributed
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
THREE-WAY RACE: Hou You-yi said until the last minute he hoped to run with Ko Wen-je, but the latter did not pick up the phone when he called to make a final pitch The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) registered their own candidates yesterday after a breakdown in coalition talks, while independent candidate Terry Gou (郭台銘) dropped out, setting up a three-way race for the presidential election in January. TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was the first to officially register his candidacy with the Central Election Commission in Taipei yesterday, shortly after naming TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) as his running mate. Wu, the daughter of former Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進), is a TPP legislator-at-large who was appointed in November last year and had served