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Insular mindset could hurt Taiwan's competitiveness: minister

2012/06/06 22:36:32

Taipei, June 6 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Wednesday Taiwan's international competitiveness could be hurt if decision makers in the country still hold the idea of national boundaries in their minds.

In an interview with CNA, Lung, when asked how she plans to strengthen the international perspectives of youth in the country, said she felt Taiwan's young people are already connected with the international community, and the potential problem of a lack of global outlook lies elsewhere.

"Young people know no national boundaries through the Internet," said the minister.

She said the bigger problem concerns the middle-aged decision makers in Taiwan, who she said could reduce Taiwan's competitiveness with mindsets that raise "walls" like boundaries between nations.

Creating cultural policies with an international outlook is among the four goals that Lung had said her ministry would aim to achieve.

The other three include bridging the cultural gap between urban and rural areas, speeding up the digitalization of cultural resources and transforming Taiwan's creative ideas into economic values.

Meanwhile, the minister described her ministry as running on "one and a half wheels" to express her frustration about having to face upcoming challenges with an inadequate budget and number of staff.

"It had the structure of a big ministry, but less staff than the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs had 13 years ago," said Lung, who served as the first director of the department from 1999 to 2003.

Despite saying previously that her ministry wanted a NT$20 billion (US$669.13 million) budget, or 1 percent of Taiwan's national budget, for next year, Lung had also admitted that it has so far been given only NT$16.08 billion.

Lung was appointed in February as head of the Council for Cultural Affairs, which was upgraded into a ministry on May 20.

On the Taiwan-China relations, the minister also reiterated her hope that interactions between the two sides will not be politically motivated, saying that such exchanges are "unreliable."

If economic benefits or other benefits are given to each side based on political calculations, "then everything changes when the political cards are dealt differently," she said.

She said the way to ensure sustainable peace across the Taiwan Strait is to "let there be more focus on culture and less on political calculations."

(By Christie Chen)