Wed, Jun 22, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Wang downplays talk about taking top post at SEF

FACING PENALTIES:Even though the lawmaker said nothing specific has been discussed, the KMT was quick to warn he could lose his legislative seat

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng, second left, yesterday speaks to reporters outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Chiu Yen-ling, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday confirmed that he had been sounded out about heading the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) by people sent by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), but said it was “a long time ago.”

However, in March, the former legislative speaker denied that such an offer had been made and dismissed as “rumor” a report that said Tsai considered him a good candidate for the post and had offered him the job.

Asked yesterday about the possibility of him taking up the job, Wang said that he could not comment “because the president did not bring up the issue personally.”

Pressed on whether he had been asked by someone sent by Tsai, Wang paused before saying: “[I was asked] a long time ago. I said we would see how the cross-strait relationship goes.”

When asked how he felt now, Wang said there was no need to talk about his position, “because there have not been any formal talks over the issue.”

Asked if he would be willing to consider an offer if there were formal talks, he said: “We will see by that time.”

The KMT hinted that it might take disciplinary action against Wang if he were to join Tsai’s administration.

KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Te-fu (林德福) said Wang would have to quit as legislator-at-large if he accepted a job offer.

“It is simply not possible for an SEF chairman, who would be questioned at the legislature, to double as a legislator-at-large,” Lin said. This is “what the law and the institution stipulates.”

Asked whether Wang’s party membership rights might be suspended, Lin said the party’s regulations would be followed.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily on Monday cited an unnamed “high-ranking KMT official” as saying that if Wang became SEF chairman, he would be disciplined the same way Presidential Office Secretary-General Lin Bih-jaw (林碧炤), Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維), Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) and Veterans Affairs Council Director Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) were.

All four saw their KMT membership rights suspended after they joined the Cabinet without notifying KMT headquarters.

Asked about the KMT stance that he could not serve as SEF chairman and a KMT legislator-at-large, Wang said he was not clear about the report, but that “past examples could be looked into.”

While People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has also been cited as a possible candidate to lead the SEF, PFP caucus convener Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that the issue had not been discussed in the two meetings Tsai held with Soong.

The emphasis should be on the Tsai administration’s cross-strait policy, not on the foundation’s leadership, Lee said.

“If the two sides [of the Taiwan Strait] have no common ground, it makes no difference [who heads the SEF],” Lee said.

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