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President-elect Lai appoints ex-DPP chair Cho Jung-tai as premier (update)

04/10/2024 10:32 AM
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Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary-General Kung Ming-hsin, newly appointed Premier Cho Jung-tai, newly appointed Vice Premier Cheng Li-chiun, and newly appointed Cabinet spokesman Chen Shi-kai (from left to right), CNA photo April 10, 2024
Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary-General Kung Ming-hsin, newly appointed Premier Cho Jung-tai, newly appointed Vice Premier Cheng Li-chiun, and newly appointed Cabinet spokesman Chen Shi-kai (from left to right), CNA photo April 10, 2024

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) confirmed at a press conference Wednesday that he has appointed former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) as Taiwan's new premier.

Cho, a central figure in Lai's successful presidential campaign, will take up the post after Lai and Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) assume office on May 20.

Former Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) was named vice premier in the incoming government, and Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), the current head of the National Development Council, was named secretary-general of the Executive Yuan.

Chen Shi-kai (陳世凱), who served as a spokesperson for Lai's presidential campaign, will become the spokesperson for the Executive Yuan.

Lai said Cho was a perfect choice for premier -- the person who runs the executive branch of government -- because he is known for his communication skills and has prioritized national interests ahead of party differences.

"We've worked together for the same causes, and we have trusted and supported each other," Lai said. 

Taiwan's new Premier Cho Jung-tai. CNA photo April 10, 2024
Taiwan's new Premier Cho Jung-tai. CNA photo April 10, 2024

Cho, meanwhile, said he was honored to take up the premier post, pledging to do his best.

He said he was given three major tasks by Lai. The first was to build an "active and innovative Cabinet" to transform Taiwan into a smart tech island, he said.

The second was to establish a communications platform to solicit public opinion on major issues where a social consensus has not yet been formed to resolve difficult problems, Cho said.

The third, Cho said, was to achieve the goal of a "healthy Taiwan" by promoting equal rights and expanding investment in projects of concern to young people, such as affordable housing, education, employment and child care.

Cho, 65, served as the Cabinet's secretary-general from September 2005 to January 2006 and again from September 2017 to December 2018, a time when Lai was premier under the government of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

He stepped down from the post in late December 2018 to run for the post of DPP chairman, a role left vacant following Tsai's departure as a result of the party's defeat in local government elections in November 2018.

Chen Shi-kai, the new spokesperson for the Executive Yuan. CNA photo April 10, 2024
Chen Shi-kai, the new spokesperson for the Executive Yuan. CNA photo April 10, 2024

Cho then served as DPP chairman from January 2019 until Tsai began her second tenure as president and returned as the head of the party in May 2020.

He largely stayed out of politics following Tsai's return, until he was invited to join Lai's campaign in 2023.

Graduating from the National Chung Hsing University with a bachelor's degree in law, Cho entered politics in 1987 by working as an assistant for then-Taipei City Councilor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is currently Taiwan's representative to Japan.

Cho was elected to the Legislature in 1999 and remained a legislator until he was named deputy secretary-general to former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in 2004.

Cheng, who served as Tsai's culture minister throughout her first term, was a central pillar in shaping Lai's policy platform during his presidential campaign.

Former Culture Minister and Taiwan's new Vice Premier Cheng Li-chiun. CNA photo April 10, 2024
Former Culture Minister and Taiwan's new Vice Premier Cheng Li-chiun. CNA photo April 10, 2024

The 54-year-old has not held any official position since she left the culture ministry in 2020 but remained active in nonprofit organizations with liaison to the Tsai administration.

They include the General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC), which is headed by Tsai with Cheng serving as one of her deputies.

The GACC, with a mission to expand Taiwan's cultural outreach, has been responsible for the visual designs of the Republic of China's (Taiwan's official name) National Day celebrations and has hosted the Presidential Culture Awards for several years.

Cheng, who boasts a master's degree in philosophy from France, is currently also the chairwoman of the Foundation for Future Generations, Taiwan, an organization dedicated to fostering young talent for the promotion of democracy.

Kung Ming-hsin, current head of the National Development Council and newly named secretary-general of the Executive Yuan. CNA photo April 10, 2024
Kung Ming-hsin, current head of the National Development Council and newly named secretary-general of the Executive Yuan. CNA photo April 10, 2024

Kung, meanwhile, has headed up the NDC since May 2020 while concurrently serving as the Cabinet's minister without portfolio since 2019. Before that, he was deputy economics minister for nearly one and a half years.

The 60-year-old has been a principal architect of some of Tsai's major policies, including shaping Taiwan's 2050 net-zero campaign and programs to promote the development of the cybersecurity, precision health, renewable energy, and national defense sectors.

(By Teng Pei-ju and Joseph Yeh)

Enditem/ASG

Update

April 12

 Premier-designate Cho reveals future appointees to major cabinet jobs

 Premier-designate Cho announces new interior, transportation ministers

● New education, justice and culture ministers announced

● Li Yuan sees broad background as key to being named culture minister

April 11: Presidential aide Lin Chia-lung tipped to be Taiwan's new foreign minister 

Related News

April 10

● Premier-designate still working on putting together new Cabinet

New Cabinet to respond to domestic, global challenges: Lai

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