Lien Chan opens fire over economy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 October, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 October, 2006, 12:00am

Former Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan yesterday criticised Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, blaming him for ruining the island's economy.

In Guangzhou yesterday on a 16-day mainland trip, Mr Lien said: 'Taiwan used to have a competitive environment [like Guangdong has now], full of youthful spirit. But if the leader [of Taiwan] is not able to understand that he has to adapt to changes in the system and join the global tide, then he cannot [help the island develop].'

The former KMT chairman blamed Mr Chen's policies for the slump in Taiwan's economy and said the cross-strait situation was in a serious state.

'We all know that our ancestors made a big mistake by choosing a closed-door policy. Unfortunately, there is someone in Taiwan still on this wrong way today. And it is the way of recession,' he said without mentioning Mr Chen by name. 'The cross-strait situation is still serious now.'

Lien aide Ting Yuan-chao also said the severity of the situation was the result of the Chen administration's approach.

'The Chen Shui-bian administration has set up lots of obstacles to cross-strait relations and communication has stagnated,' Mr Ting said. 'That is why chairman Lien called it 'serious'.'

The Guangzhou stop was Mr Lien's first in Guangdong and included a meeting with Guangdong Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang .

Mr Zhang told the 17-member KMT delegation: 'More Taiwanese companies are welcome to invest in Guangdong.

'We hope they not only invest in manufacturing but also in the service sector, and we hope to enhance communication between Guangdong and Taiwan.'

Mr Zhang said that at the end of last year, 20,700 Taiwan businesspeople had invested a total of more than US$35 billion in Guangdong and the province's trade with Taiwan last year totalled US$34 billion, 37.7 per cent of the mainland's total.

Mr Lien is due to attend the first cross-strait Agriculture Forum in Boao, Hainan , on Tuesday.

'We are going to make a joint statement during the forum,' Mr Ting said. 'The statement will offer details to implement the cross-strait agriculture co-operation agreement which Mr Lien and [President] Hu Jintao discussed last year in Beijing.'