Jan 25, 2006

Taiwan: Tension and Challenges For New Taiwan Premier

Su Tseng-Chang takes over as Taiwan's premier today faced with the task of reviving the economy and dealing with rising tensions with the mainland

Su was selected last week by President Chen Shui-Bian following the resignation of Frank Hsieh, who said he was leaving his post over disagreements with Chen's hard-line policy toward the mainland.

Su has emerged as a front-runner in the race to be the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate in 2008, though his background in provincial government has obscured his views on the mainland.

His Cabinet, which also takes office today, is a mixture of the old and the new.

DPP lawmaker Tsai Ing-Wen, a former head of the Mainland Affairs Council will be his vice premier.

Tsai, a legal expert by training, can be expected to fill in some major gaps for Su, who has keen political skills but little experience in international affairs or China policies. MAC chairman Joseph Wu and Defense Minister Lee Jye are staying in place.

For his economic team, Su has recruited top managers from government- run enterprises.

Bank of Taiwan chairman Joseph Lyu has been tapped to take over the finance ministry.

The foreign affairs portfolio will be handed to James Huang, Chen's deputy chief of staff.

With his swearing in, Su will be the fifth person to hold Taiwan's No3 post since Chen was elected in 2000.


Source: The Standard