2020 ELECTIONS/Presidential candidates focus on economy in 2nd policy presentation

12/25/2019 09:43 PM
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Taipei, Dec. 25 (CNA) Economic issues dominated the second televised policy presentation by Taiwan's three presidential candidates on Wednesday, less than three weeks ahead of the Jan. 11 elections.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP), Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People's First Party (PFP), shared their views on various issues during the presentation, which took the format of three 10-minute rounds for each candidate.

Tsai, who is seeking a second term, promised to expand her economic roadmap for Taiwan, which she said currently focuses on innovation, job creation, and fair and even distribution of income.

"We started a new economic development model in 2016, and we're now going to launch version 2.0," she said. "We have also set an implementation goal, targeting six areas."

The goal is make the recent investments of trillions of Taiwan dollars an engine of economic growth, the president said.

Under the plan, Tsai said, her administration will focus on the development of Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIOT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G technology to make Taiwan a high-end manufacturing and research hub.

In addition, she said, she will seek to create a central green industry supply chain in Taiwan, relax financial regulations, attract more talent, establish a sovereign financing guarantee mechanism, and pass on the benefits of economic growth to the Taiwanese people through salary increases, tax deductions and social programs.

Meanwhile, Han said in his presentation that he plans to create a sovereign wealth fund to boost domestic industries.

"I will create a Republic of China (Taiwan) sovereign fund," he said, citing Singapore, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates as examples of the 30 governments around the world that have successfully established that type of fund.

"I hope to create a NT$10 trillion fund, to boost Taiwan's domestic industries and help our businessmen venture into global markets," said Han, who has criticized the Tsai administration as corrupt and ineffective in terms of economic development.

He said Taiwan needs to mobilize all of its representative offices abroad to effectively promote its products and attract talent and tourists.

Among the other economic proposals Han outlined were the revision of the relevant regulations to aid industrial transformation, the establishment of Free Economic Zones in Taichung and Kaohsiung initially, the provision of greater support for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the extension of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China.

In turn, Soong said he is a "trustworthy and stable" candidate who has the ability to provide leadership that is in Taiwan's best interests, amid the political and economic power plays among the United States, China and Japan.

"Whether or not you like it, Taiwan will face a situation in 2020 in which the three major economies -- China, the U.S. and Japan -- will continue their power games," he said.

The recent talks between the leaders of China and Japan, and the agreement between the U.S. and China regarding their trade conflicts, demonstrated that these countries not only fight each other, but they also form coalitions, he Soong said.

"Taiwan should not be left with the sole option of choosing a side," he said, adding that he has the confidence and experience to stabilize cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Soong, who is making his third presidential bid since 2000, said Taiwan is also facing other crises such as a low birth rate, reshuffling of the international economic order, economic inequality, climate change, and a deterioration of humanitarian values.

Wednesday's policy presentation was the second of three such televised appearances by the presidential candidates, following the first one on Dec. 18. The last one is scheduled for December 27.

The only presidential debate in the run up to Taiwan's Jan. 11 elections will be hosted and moderated by several TV stations, newspapers and the Central News Agency on Dec. 29.

(By Emerson Lim)

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