Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday gave his full support to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of the “influence peddling” case against Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and said the Cabinet would sustain its backing even if this impeded legislative operations.
Maintaining the judicial system’s independence is “a matter of principle,” Jiang said, adding that: “We [the Cabinet] are already mentally prepared for legislative turmoil.”
Jiang made the comments a day after Ma issued a strongly worded statement denouncing Wang’s alleged meddling in judicial affairs as the “most serious infringement” in the nation’s history.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Ma’s severe condemnation has ignited speculation that Wang, a legislator-at-large with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), of which the president is chairman, could lose his position if the KMT suspends his membership or expels him from the party.
Wang stands accused by the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office of illegally lobbying for Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in a breach of trust case by urging then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to use their influence to stop a prosecutor from appealing Ker’s not-guilty verdict.
Wang, a 38-year veteran of the legislature, has occupied his current post since 1999. The 72-year-old speaker has good rapport with fellow lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition camps.
The KMT is scheduled to hold a disciplinary committee meeting to rule on Wang’s membership tomorrow, a day after he is to return to Taiwan from a trip abroad. Wang is expected to arrive at 7:20pm.
Jiang said he was present at a meeting on Sunday afternoon in which Ma was putting the finishing touches on his statement and that Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also attended.
“President Ma was determined about his stance before he discussed the statement with us,” Jiang said.
The reason Ma set a strong tone in the statement was that Wang’s alleged misconduct crossed the president’s “red line,” Jiang said.
Jiang said that “the judiciary is the last line of defense for justice” in society and has “no gray areas.”
Separately, Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien urged Wang Jin-pyng to resign on his own accord if the allegations against him are proven to be true.
Wang Chien-shien said he expected the KMT committee to impose severe disciplinary action on the legislative speaker.
“Otherwise, the KMT will be finished. The KMT has to do take action against Wang Jin-pyng that will serve as a deterrent to potential influence peddlers,” he said.
Wang Chien-shien also called for Ker to resign if it was proven that he had asked Wang Jin-pyng to do lobby the prosecutor on his behalf.
Additional reporting by CNA
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient