Sun, Nov 07, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lee Teng-hui fires salvos on the hustings

READY TO TESTIFY The former president was in his usual combative mood, taking swipes at his former party and pan-blue camp leaders as well as laughing off threats

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday that the Legislative Yuan should pass a statute governing stolen party assets as soon as possible, and that he was ready to testify on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) assets if necessary.

"I never took any money from the KMT, but some people still say that I was a thief, and I get really angry about that," he said.

Lee said that he only received NT$5,000 a month when he was a member of the KMT Central Standing Committee, but that when he became party chairman, he stopped receiving money from the party altogether.

Lee was speaking as he stumped for Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative candidate David Huang (黃適卓) yesterday.

"I never took any money from the party. Some people used money but have blamed the loss of that money on me because they're feeling guilty," he said.

Lee also talked about the arms deal with the US that has been blocked in the legislature, saying the new weapons were necessary to defend Taiwan against China.

"But the former chief of the Navy [People First Party Legislator Nelson Ku, 顧崇廉] is opposing the deal. I would like to ask him why he wanted to purchase these weapons back when he was chief," Lee said.

Lee also said that although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) managed to win a second term, the dream of power being held by a native, localized administration was only half realized because the governing party had been hamstrung as it did not control the legislature.

And compared with the US, where losing candidates congratulate winning candidates "on the spot," Lee said Taiwan had losing candidates who would never concede and who have been causing trouble for eight months since the presidential election.

"Some leaders wouldn't concede even if they lost three or four times -- they still think their destiny is to become president," Lee said.

"They even said the March 19 shooting was planned by A-bian [Chen] himself. These kinds of leaders should be eliminated," he said.

Lee campaigned later yesterday for TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘). There he said that the nation was facing two challenges.

"One is how to erase the residue of the authoritarian regime of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and the KMT. The other is international relations, such as Taiwan's membership in the UN," he said.

Lee said that Taiwan had not managed to eradicate the authoritarian regime entirely, and that this domestic issue had to be dealt with first before Taiwan could deal with international matters.

"Those who still think that the party equals the nation and consider themselves to be the only legitimate candidates for the presidency will only have things done their way," Lee said. "Those without the destiny to become president should stop fantasizing about it."

Lee then alleged he had received threats.

"Actually, I am surrounded by a lot of bodyguards today. Some people have been threatening to kill me. But I am not scared of this kind of thing," he said.

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