Taipei Times: 2020 Elections: Tsai and Han spar over economy, SID in debate

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, yesterday debated their economic policies and reinstatement of the Special Investigation Division (SID) at the second platform presentation for the Jan. 11 election.

Tsai, who won a draw to speak first, began her presentation by touting her economic achievements.

Under her administration, the nation has experienced growth for 14 straight quarters, with Taiwan outperforming the four Asian Tigers, she said, adding that the economy contracted for the three years prior to that, under then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

As many of Han’s advisers come from Ma’s administration, “I really do not know how Taiwanese would ‘get rich,’” Tsai said, referring to one of Han’s campaign slogans.

If re-elected, she would deepen economic ties with countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy, signing more bilateral investment agreements and building new supply chains, Tsai added.

Tsai said that she would also seek to establish a bilateral free-trade agreement with the US.

Her administration would aim to transform Taiwan into a new center for advanced manufacturing and research, a hub for finance and asset management, and Asia’s green energy supply chain, she said.

Commenting on Han’s plan to reinstate the SID, Tsai said that the agency was abolished in 2017 because it was “turned into a tool for political wrangling by the KMT.”

Han said that if elected, he would improve the economy by continuing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), and establish free economic pilot zones in Taichung and Kaohsiung.

He said he would establish a sovereign wealth fund of about NT$10 trillion (US$331.1 billion) and require that Taiwanese representatives to other nations promote Taiwan’s exports.

“I would launch the biggest talent fostering program in history, which would be named Mantianxing (滿天星) or Daguangming (大光明), to connect Taiwan’s young people to the world,” Han said.

He called Tsai an incompetent president whose administration has been hijacked by Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Taiwan’s real crisis is having Tsai as its president, Han said, adding that her lack of power has allowed her administration to grow corrupt.

People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said the DPP and KMT have become increasingly radical, adding that he offers a more balanced alternative for voters.

“Taiwan will not disappear if Tsai is not re-elected and the Republic of China will not be destroyed if Han loses the election,” Soong said, adding that voting for him would let people prove that they are not controlled by the two largest parties.

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