Taiwan MAC Minister fails to recognize pictures Chinese leaders
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2012-10-02 05:03 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi failed to recognize the pictures of key Chinese leaders shown him during his first legislative question-and-answer session Tuesday, seeming to confirm doubts about his suitability for the position.

The MAC is the Cabinet department in charge of relations with China. When the Presidential Office first announced Wang as the choice to succeed Lai Shin-yuan, critics said the 43-year-old confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou did not have the necessary experience to take on such a key job. Wang was sworn in as minister on Tuesday morning.

At the Legislative Yuan later that day, opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Tsai Chi-chang showed Wang pictures of nine key Chinese leaders, all members of the Communist Party’s Politburo. The new minister only recognized two, those of President Hu Jintao and of Vice President Xi Jinping, the man widely expected to be promoted to president and Communist Party leader at its 18th Congress next month.

Wang failed to correctly identify Jia Qinglin, the head of a top parliamentary body and the country’s fourth-ranking leader.

“I am not a stranger to the functioning of the MAC, but I do have to improve my ability to recognize people on pictures,” Wang told lawmakers.

Tsai suggested he return to the Presidential Office and ask Ma for more time to prepare for the job. The DPP lawmaker said he had wanted to ask Wang for his ideas about the imminent transfer of power in Beijing, but that it looked like it was no longer necessary. Tsai described knowledge about the nine Politburo members as the ABC of Chinese politics.

When opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmaker Huang Wen-ling asked him whether he agreed with the statement that there were two different Chinas, Wang said he would stick to the wording in the Constitution and describe the two sides as the areas controlled by the Republic of China government and by the government respectively.

At his swearing-in ceremony earlier, Wang said that as presidential spokesman and later adviser to the National Security Council, he had often been exposed to relations with China. He said he hoped to build on the basis laid by the Ma Administration and by Lai to conduct a realistic and stable China policy consistent with the demands of public opinion.

Lai has been appointed as Taiwan representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She chaired the MAC for four years and oversaw rapidly thawing relations, including the 2010 signing of a cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Commentators have interpreted her replacement by Wang as a move by Ma to hasten political discussions with China, eventually culminating in a peace accord.

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