The Executive Yuan yesterday said Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) met Hong Kong politician Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) during his visit to Hong Kong on Sept. 5.
Leung is the convenor of the non-official members of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and has been mentioned in Hong Kong media as a likely successor to Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) as the territory’s chief executive in 2012.
Citing the timing of the trip — two days before the announcement that Wu would become premier — the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused Wu of meeting Chinese officials to discuss his premiership.
Executive Yuan Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday rebutted the claim as “ridiculous.”
“The Republic of China is a sovereign independent country. Saying that Premier Wu had to report to [Chinese authorities] concerning his appointment was a ridiculous allegation,” Su said.
“Premier Wu has been consistent regarding the purpose of his visit to Hong Kong, which was to exchange ideas on disaster prevention measures,” Su said yesterday. “His accusers have to show proof.”
Su denied that the Executive Yuan had been embarrassed into acknowledging the meeting after Wu’s Hong Kong itinerary was made public by a political commentator on a talk show on Sunday night.
Su said Wu had not hidden the meeting from the public but had mentioned when approached by reporters in Kaohsiung County last Thursday that the itinerary of his Hong Kong trip had been “arranged by Dr Leung Chun-ying.”
Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃), a political commentator, said on SET-TV’s Dahua News (大話新聞) that Wu had met Leung, citing a story published on Friday in the Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal daily that revealed the meeting.
Wu’s trip to Hong Kong on Sept. 5 was first reported on Wednesday, with Wu saying he had gone to learn from Hong Kong’s experience dealing with mudslides.
A report in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), cited Wu’s secretary as saying that Wu had visited Hong Kong with his wife, newly wedded son and daughter-in-law for a “family gathering.”
His secretary said Wu had also taken the opportunity to learn about measures Hong Kong had taken to combat mudslides.
Paul Lin (林保華), a commentator on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) history, told the Taipei Times yesterday that Leung is an “underground member” of the CCP and well-trusted by Beijing.
Lin said Leung’s close connections with the CCP belied his claims that he is not involved with the party.
Lin said Leung was appointed by Chinese authorities in 1987 as secretary-general of the Basic Law Consultative Committee created in 1984 to gauge public opinion for a draft of the Hong Kong Basic Law ahead of the territory’s handover from Britain to China in 1997.
“The secretary-general was in charge of the commission, which showed his relationship with the CCP. Leung’s predecessor was also an underground member of the CCP,” Lin said.
Lin said Xu Jiatun (許家屯), who headed the Hong Kong branch of China’s state news agency Xinhua until 1990, wrote in memoirs published in 1993 that a friend of his knew first hand that Leung was a communist.
Xu, a former CCP member, fled to the US in 1990 after learning of a plan to purge him from the party because of his pro-student stance during the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations.
“There is a high chance that Leung will replace Tsang. In July, when asked whether he would run for chief executive, Leung said he would rather talk about the issue later. [That was] different from the negative answers he had given before,” Lin said.
The DPP caucus yesterday continued to question the purpose of Wu’s trip.
DPP caucus whip Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) alleged that Wu had reported his selection by Ma as premier to Chinese officials in Hong Kong.
“Taiwanese have the right to know [if this is true],” Chai said.
DPP caucus secretary-general Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津) told a press conference that Wu should make public the details of his activities on Sept. 5.
Yeh said it made no sense for Wu to visit Hong Kong to learn about preventing mudslides because Nantou County — Wu’s own legislative constituency — had suffered frequent landslides over the years.
“Premier Wu, don’t forget that you were a legislator elected by a Nantou constituency,” Yeh said. “Nantou has more experience with mudslides than Hong Kong. It would be better to take an inspection tour of Nantou.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) called the allegations nonsense.
At a dinner banquet hosted by Ma for KMT legislators in Taipei on Friday to solicit support for the new Cabinet and exchange ideas, Ma endorsed Wu’s Hong Kong trip, saying he was aware of it beforehand.
Ma said that Wu’s visit to Hong Kong to learn about civil engineering there was his idea.
While in Hong Kong, Wu said he had visited the Civil Engineering and Development Department and received information on mudslide prevention.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
SEARCH CONTINUES: The fighter jet disappeared from radar screens at 3:23pm, about 30 minutes after it took off, air force Major General Liu Hui-chien said Search-and-rescue teams yesterday searched for an air force pilot after his F-16V Block 20 jet went missing during an afternoon bombing exercise near the coastline of Chiayi County’s Dongshih Township (東石鄉), the air force said. The search continued as of press time last evening. The single-seat jet (serial number 6650) disappeared from radar screens at 3:23pm, about 30 minutes after it took off from Chiayi Air Base, air force Inspector General Major General Liu Hui-chien (柳惠千) told a news conference in Taipei. All F-16Vs are temporarily suspended from exercises pending the completion of emergency checks on the fleet, he said. The fighter piloted by
LUNAR NEW YEAR: The nation is expecting 4,200 international travelers to arrive today and 3,900 tomorrow, as people return home for the holidays, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said it expects imported cases of COVID-19 to further increase today and tomorrow — the peak period for international arrivals before the Lunar New Year holiday. The nation has seen more imported cases of COVID-19 since it implemented a new policy on Tuesday requiring travelers on long-haul flights to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival. Those who test positive are taken directly to hospitals from airports. Most of the recent confirmed cases of COVID-19 were travelers arriving from the US, CECC data showed. On Tuesday, 58 of the 625 travelers arriving at Taiwan
PROTECTION: The New Taipei City mayor said a pass could cover stores, but not eateries, while Ko Wen-je said vaccinated people could be exempted from some rules Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) on Saturday proposed implementing a “COVID-19 pass” regulation that would allow only vaccinated people into certain areas. New Taipei City is planning to require a “COVID-19 pass” for entry to “vulnerable spaces” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hou said. Non-students entering elementary schools in New Taipei City are required to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is for the protection of students under the age of 12, who are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, city officials have said. The
TRACEABLE: The expansion of a cluster infection appears to be slowing, as genome sequencing results show a clearer link among confirmed cases, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 96 COVID-19 infections: four domestic and 92 imported cases. Three of the domestically transmitted cases are bank workers likely linked to previously reported airport clusters, it added. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, attributed the high number of imported cases in part to the implementation on Tuesday of a tighter entry policy. Travelers arriving on long-haul flights are immediately tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and must wait for results of their rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on site. Those who test negative are allowed to proceed with normal