The New Cabinet

Some interesting changes in key members of the Cabinet have already been made, and other likely ones in the offing are receiving a lot of attention in the media. Let’s have a thread for airing views on the changes and the people involved.

I didn’t know much about Su Jia-chyuan before he was appointed as the new Minister of the Interior, but he’s made a highly positive impression on me already. I like his affable manner, and I can see that he has a lot of charisma and the ability to charm people very easily. It strikes me that he could well be a man with a very big future: if he puts in a good performance in his new job, could he even become a contender for the DPP’s presidential candidacy in 2008?

I have rather less positive feelings about the appointment of Mark Chen as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Yes, I’m sure he’s a good man, highly honourable, and a capable enough legislator and local government leader. But is he quite right for the role of foreign minister? He doesn’t exactly look the part – rather more like a good-natured farmer than a sophisticated, worldly-wise orchestrator of Taiwan’s foreign diplomacy, in the mould of Frederick Chien or Jason Hu. But at least he’s a much better pick for the job than John Chang, whose only qualification for it was being the illegitimate son of Chiang Ching-kuo.

In connection with other forthcoming changes to the cabinet lineup, the person most in the spotlight is MAC chairperson Tsai Ing-wen. I have a tremendously high opinion of Tsai, and believe she has been one of the most outstanding members of the first DPP administration. I agree that she’d be an excellent representative for Taiwan in Washington, but I can understand her reluctance to take on such a job. I’d personally like to see her remain in charge of the MAC. But I’m afraid that she’s had enough of being in the front line of politics and taking flak from those brutes in the Legislative Yuan, and will choose to opt out and return to the stiller waters of academia. I hope Chen and others will be able to persuade her otherwise, because the government sorely needs people of her calibre in high-profile positions.

Another likely change, which was plastered across the front page of today’s Liberty Times, is the appointment of Ho Mei-yueh as Minister of Economic Affairs. I’ve been tipping that one for a while, and think it would be an excellent decision. She’s impressed me very well during her time as Vice Chairperson of the CEPD, especially with her fine grasp of detail, incisive thinking, flexibility, foresight, can-do spirit, and personable manner, and I’m sure she’d be worthy of elevation to the leadership of the MOEA.

Any thoughts about these or other changes, cabinet members you’d like to see replaced, people you think should be brought into the government, or anything else related to the formation of the new administration?

[quote]Born in 1935 in Tainan County, Chen was an outstanding student. He graduated from National Taiwan University with a bachelor degree in atmospheric science, and in 1972 earned a PhD in earth physics from Purdue University in the US.

After passing the exam for US public service in 1973, he worked at research centers such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While in the US, Chen was also involved in organizations supporting the Taiwan Independence movement, including the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations and the Taiwanese Association of America.


Nineteen years working for the US federal gubmint, so you can be sure he knows the procedure. I would have thought he was at least as well qualified as most of Taiwan’s previous foreign ministers, although I don’t know how much his TI bent will work for or agin him.

I second your high opinion of Tsai Yng Wen and think she is capable enough for any position in the new cabinet.

Do you guys know if Yu Shi Kyun will be retained? I like him too and as far as I have heard he is well liked, but I have read somewhere a while back they might replace him.

The other new guys I do not know, although I read that article today in the Taipei Times that shows how MOI Su was cooperating well with Mayor Ma.

Do you think by offering some high level position to some Pro-Taiwan Blues that the DPP might be able to get some Blues in their camp? There was talk before the election that if the DPP won there might be a large shift of loyalties in the Pro-Taiwan Blues to joining the Pan Green alliance. I haven’t heard anything else though. Maybe it was a ploy to divde the Blues?

I think they need to keep grooming more people by putting their stars in the limelight in order to build up the next generation of DPP leaders. It is going to continue to be a tough fight for the Lifa Yuan and the 2008 election. Who could ever beat Ma or Wang? Umm…I guess that last question should be in a new thread.

Yes, he will.

Yes, he will.[/quote]

I think he deserves to be retained. He’s done a very creditable job in extremely difficult circumstances, and nearly always managed to do it with a genial smile, extraordinary forbearance, and unaffected modesty.

I’d say he’ll be retained until after the legislative elections. Then will be the time to consider fundamentally reshaping the cabinet and perhaps trying to bring in some members of the opposition, depending on the composition of the new legislature and the nature of changes in the pan-blue parties during the intervening months.