Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that stabilizing domestic politics and revitalizing the economy, unlike elections, are not zero-sum games and would take both the ruling party and opposition parties to work together for everyone to win.
He made the remarks during a luncheon speech on economic issues to members of the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei and the American Chamber of Commerce.
In his speech, he said Taiwan's economy remains sound, with export orders amounting to US$207.2 billion in the first 10 months of this year, up 18.03 percent from the same period of last year.
While the unemployment rate has fallen, foreign investors have continued to invest in Taiwan's stock market and have made "a lot of money," Hsieh said.
Making reference to the pro-democracy demonstration in Hong Kong on December 4 that drew more than 100,000 participants, he said the parade was "an expression of the deep thirst" of Hong Kong's people for democratic freedoms. Taiwan's democracy, he added, is a guarantee of economic development and the core conception of the country's economic policies.
He also reiterated the government's determination in enhancing the country's financial system, saying that the government has begun since 2004 a second stage of financial reform that involves building up a financial market and a financial supervisory system that conform to international standards.
On cross-Taiwan Strait relations, he said that although a more open cross-strait policy is required from business people's point of view, cross-strait affairs also involve other considerations such as national security.
Hsieh said that a survey found that while 80 percent of respondents from the business sector favored direct cross-strait flights, only 30 percent of respondents from Taiwan's general public supported this idea, which indicated that it is an issue that requires more negotiation.
As for the public speculation that he might be replaced in an upcoming cabinet reshuffle, Hsieh said he would try to do a good job as long as he remains premier.
Hsieh offered to resign early this week in the wake of the Democratic Progressive Party's defeat in the December 3 elections for county and city chiefs but was asked to stay on by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).