At 8:30 p.m. on February 10th, the 115th “Cross-Strait Talk” (General 191st), hosted by China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong) and Xiamen Qidataixiang Entrepreneurship Service Co., Ltd., was successfully held at the Tencent Conference with the theme of “Chen Chien-jen’s political team took office! Will it become a ‘caretaker cabinet’ or a puppet of Tsai Ing-wen?”.
Chen Chien-jen, the President of the Executive Yuan, boasted of leading a “warm and tough cabinet”, but only for less than 10 days that assumed the post, the “cabinet member” had caused big trouble! Young Hong-tsu, the managing director of TTSB (Taiwan Transportation Safety Board), was exposed by the media that during office hours, he used official vehicle for own ends in Yilan county, where he visited hot springs and restaurants, and even claim for reimbursement of official business. In addition, the National Security Council confirmed and promptly apologized that one of a director-level official’s illegal exit and peremptory attitude after a dispute with the inspection personnel of basic unit on site. Young Hong-tsu denied the media coverage at once, while Chen Chien-jen requested that the investigation be conducted as soon as possible and that the investigation report be completed within 3 days. Many people believe that Chen Chien-jen is only a “puppet cabinet premier” under Tsai Ing-wen’s supervision, and it also seems to be her decision that 80% of the officials in the “new cabinet” are retained by the former government. Chen Chien-jen’s actual jurisdiction is limited, as well as his political power. Naturally, in order to change the public perception, Chen Chien-jen intended to build up the prestige by the case of Young Hong-tsu; It needs to be stress that although Young was recruited by Su Tseng-chang, the former President of Executive Yuan, the relevant events reported by the media took place after the “cabinet of Chen” acceded, which made it quite humiliating. Chen certainly needs to perform rather strong. What standpoint shall we take towards this brand new administrative team, which is going to be a “caretaker cabinet” or a puppet of Tsai Ing-wen? In this “Cross-Strait talk”, China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong) specially invited experts and scholars from both sides of the strait, including Chiu Yi, the former Kuomintang and People First Party legislator for three terms, and also a member of the Kuomintang Central Committee, to discuss the topic of “Chen Chien-jen’s political team took office! Will it become a ‘caretaker cabinet’ or a puppet of Tsai Ing-wen?”, They focused on the subjects of why Tsai Ing-wen let Chen Chien-jen take over the position, why Cheng Wen-tsan served with Chen as Vice Premier, how would Chen establish his authority in the political group, and is his team a “warm and tough cabinet” or just under Tsai’s manipulation. Luo Dingjun, Secretary General of the China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong), served as the host of the meeting.
Chiu Yi said that Tsai’s original ideal candidate for the new cabinet leader was Cheng Wen-tsan, however, Cheng failed in the auxiliary selection for Cheng Yun-Peng in Taoyuan county and was affected by Lin Chih-chien’s thesis plagiarism, even his own master’s thesis at the Graduate Institute of National Development of Taiwan National Institute was also identified as plagiarism. At this time, assuming the post of the President of the Executive Yuan would undoubtedly be a ticking time bomb for the Democratic Progressive Party. It was undignified that Su Tseng-chang was frequently involved in political squabbles. The DPP’s defeat was also blamed on Su’s destruction of the Green Camp image, which caused public anger and raised the demands for his resignation. Under such circumstances, in order to avoid the president position being taken over easily by Lai Ching-te and other politicians, Tsai must arrange another obedient pawn to fill the void, then Chen Chien-jen became the best choice for this position. Chen is a qualified scholar with academic status, but has no administrative and governance ability. He could not play a pivotal role in the political field, which fit in exactly with Tsai’s wishes. With his gentle personality, the new cabinet would take on an entirely new look. Meanwhile, as a scholar with no affiliation, no qualifications and no financial backers, Chen appeared to be more easily managed by Tsai.
The new cabinet deployed by Tsai Ing-wen is mainly aimed at keeping a close eye on and balancing Lai Ching-te. Besides Chen Chien-jen and Cheng Wen-tsan serving as the leader and lieutenant of the new cabinet, 80% of the heads of the various departments have remained in their positions, meaning Su Tseng-chang’s team still holds power in the high echelons. For this political impact after resignation, Tsai is using Su as a spoiler in Lai Ching-te’s future election in 2024, which will constrain Lai’s power in the executive system. Recently, there have been rumors in Taiwan about Lai is “a man with a foul heart under fair skin”, sparking people’s suspicion and losing the trust of the US. As a consequence, Lai had no alternative but to submit to Tsai, who holds the reins of power.
In addition to the wonderful speeches delivered by the guests, the online audience also actively participated in the interactive questions on the topic. The audience asked a wide range of topics, such as whether Hsiao Bi-khim’s return to Taiwan was for the interview of Lai Ching-te’s deputy or preparation for Kevin McCarthy’s visit to Taiwan in April, whether Tsai intended to cut losses for DPP by following the former President Ma Ying-jeou’s example of selecting Chang San-cheng at the end of the term, the prediction of the DPP and KMT candidates for the 2024 Taiwan local elections, and more. All the guests at the meeting answered these questions, and the discussion was heated, highlighting the great concern of young people and scholars on Cross-Strait on the issue of “Chen Chien-jen’s political team took office! Will it become a ‘caretaker cabinet’ or a puppet of Tsai Ing-wen?”.
Chiu Yi believed that Tsai Ing-wen would retain Hsiao Bi-khim as the “Representative in the US” was to achieve McCarthy’s visit to Taiwan through Hsiao’s operation. Tsai not only hoped that McCarthy could visit Taiwan with the “China Select Committee” and hold a hearing, but also wished that Hsiao could bring her about an invitation from McCarthy to make a speech in the US, which will likely to be true in the atmosphere of the rising populism of the US against China. Nonetheless, McCarthy will never lay down his responsibilities to direct a political grandstanding in Taiwan during the session of the House of Representatives in April, otherwise it will inevitably lead to the condemnation of American public opinion. Hence the visit to Taiwan will probably be at the end of July after the session. Hsiao’s return is to bring back the recent “spy balloon” information to Taiwan and take the opportunity to encourage the populists to make a splash for the DPP. Lai Ching-te hopes to connect with the US through Hsiao, but whether the political match of Hsiao and Lai can be achieved in the future depends mainly on whether Tsai Ing-wen will permit. Compared with the KMT’s consistent practice of defending according to circumstances and appeasing the public, the DPP is more inclined to play an offensive role. Su Tseng-chang is good at stirring up arguments, and Chen Chien-jen’s mild character will make KMT’s every punch like hitting on cotton, which the action makes no effect. The Taiwanese is accustomed to sympathizing with the weak, so Tsai will certainly let Chen win sympathy by the delicate image. If the KMT still follows the strategy of dealing with Su, it will surely fail.
At the end of the meeting, Chiu Yi pointed out that Chen Chien-jen, who is obedient and lacks a faction to rely on, is a typical mannequin of Tsai Ing-wen, while Cheng Wen-tsan directly follows Tsai’s orders and has both military control and actual political power. In the future, under Hsiao Meiqin’s manoeuver, if McCathy’s visit to Taiwan and Tsai’s visit to the US become real, it will definitely cause a great sensation between the two sides.
Through a brief 1-hour online exchange, more than 300 people from both sides of the strait gathered to discuss the topic of “Chen Chien-jen’s political team took office! Will it become a ‘caretaker cabinet’ or a puppet of Tsai Ing-wen?”, to promote cross-strait exchanges with practical actions, and make contributions to maintaining cross-strait peace and development.
As the cross-strait exchange activity synchronized with “Cross-Strait Talk” and “Smart Youth Integration in the Four Places”, the Cross-Strait Youth Perspective Forum, which is launched by China Cross-Strait Academy (Hong Kong), is mainly characterized by gathering authoritative scholars and media worker from Cross-Strait and four places. They will listen to the voice of the Strait, pay attention to the hot spots on both sides of Taiwan Strait, take a global vision, and make a new voice based on both sides of the strait and facing the world.