《TAIPEI TIMES 焦點》 Wu Li-pei queries Tsai’s Cabinet picks


DETERMINISM: When the president’s team is composed of people who do not necessarily hold the same beliefs as she does, ‘how can there be reform?’ Wu Li-pei asked

By Alison Hsiao / Staff reporter

Former national policy adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) yesterday questioned President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) appointment of Premier Lin Chuan (林全) and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維), panning the former for incompetence and the latter for adherence to the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Wu said in a radio interview that some critics in the pan-green camp are accusing Tsai of being incompetent.

“Tsai is experiencing a major crisis, which she will not be able to turn around” if she fails to make sensible changes, Wu said.

“How can you make changes in the areas you pledged to reform, which are national security, the judiciary and finance, when you fill the related high-ranking posts with people from the former administration?” he asked.

“In the judiciary, [Tsai] also wanted to appoint people from the former administration, but failed,” he added, referring to controversy involving Judicial Yuan presidential nominee Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定), whose nomination met with such vehement protest that Tsai withdrew it in the middle of this month.

When asked whether he had ever expressed his concerns over Tsai’s appointments to National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who is Wu Li-pei’s nephew, Wu Li-pei said he had once, but it did not end well.

Joseph Wu “thinks highly of David Lee, but I do not believe that Lee is someone who should be a member of Tsai’s administration,” Wu Li-pei said. “How would Lee, if he supports the ‘one China’ principle or the ‘1992 consensus,’ be able to advocate President Tsai’s ideas?”

The senior Wu said his nephew replied that Lee is the best choice beside himself.

“He did not believe that there are people in the pan-green camp who are capable of taking on the job, and so I have since stopped talking to him,” Wu Li-pei said.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.

When the president’s team is composed of people who do not necessarily hold the same beliefs as she does, “how can there be reform?” Wu Li-pei said.

He said the premier should step down, or there will be “no tomorrow for Tsai.”

“Lin is conservative in terms of economic reform. He does not have enough charisma to lead reform on areas such as public investment, quantitative easing or economic structural changes,” Wu Li-pei said.

The heads of state-run businesses should also be replaced by professional experts, he said.

“That the government should be tactful means reforms have to be well-thought out before they are implemented rather than sporadic. However, when facing emergencies such as the misfired missile and the airport [glitches], what is required are immediate, appropriate solutions,” he said.

“There are many problems that were actually left by the former administration, but if you cannot fix them, you will be the one held accountable for them,” he added.

Lee said in response to Wu Li-pei’s criticism that he has always made his greatest effort to perform his duties, regardless of the position he is in.

Lin said he would not shun his political responsibilities, but “it depends on who the person calling for my resignation is.”