Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) determined attitude was well demonstrated during the Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development held late last month.
Tsai, though well-known as head of the panel that developed former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "special state-to-state" theory (兩國論) in 1999, was locked in a heated debate at the conference with members of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union over the easing of the 40 percent cap on investment in China.
She was spotted during the conference breaks negotiating with other participants over plans to ease the investment ceiling, which was eventually listed with the "other opinions" -- those intended to serve as advice for the government, but which would have no binding effect on the Cabinet.
Known for her articulate and precise expression in English, Tsai played the role of conciliator in 2002 during her term as chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), flying to Washington to explain President Chen Shui-bian's (
She convinced players in Washington that Taiwan had not changed its stance on cross-strait relations.
Tsai first took on the leadership of the MAC in 2000. Although she was not then a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member, she was well-trusted by the DPP government as well as President Chen Shui-bian (
"During her first year as chairwoman of the MAC, she simply would not talk to the press," said a senior cross-strait affairs journalist who wished to remain anonymous. "Now, she does, but what she tells you are only those things that she wants you to know."
While Tsai had once explained to reporters that her cautiousness is driven by a desire to avoid misunderstanding, some reporters complain that Tsai's remarks usually contain nothing but political language and rhetoric.
Tsai's professional attitude has garnered approval from both the pan-blue and pan-green camps.
"She does not bluff about something that will never happen or try to avoid difficult questions posed by lawmakers. That is really something," said former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖).
Former DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) said Tsai's performance as head of a government agency should be a role model for her fellow government leaders.
"Her statements or answers to the legislature are always logical and clear," Shen said. "Sometimes I really felt that listening to her in the legislature was a joy."
Former KMT legislator Liao Feng-te (廖風德) said Tsai's perseverance and firm attitude impressed him the most, although he would not really appreciate it all the time.
"I questioned her on the MAC's policies many times and there were several quarrels between us on the legislative floor. However, she would insist on the rightness of her positions and explain them to me patiently -- even though I still believed that there were flaws in them. That was quite different from other government officials," Liao said.
The vice premier is also known for her tendency to retain a low-profile, which is typical of both her work and private life.
For instance, she was entitled to a driver when she was the MAC chairwoman and still has the right to this service as vice premier. But, she prefers to drive by herself. In addition, she has refused the service of bodyguards.
Despite the fact that her father passed away in the lead-up to the economic conference, she only asked to take a week off after the conference concluded.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with