President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday announced that she had picked former premier William Lai (賴清德) as her running mate “to form the strongest combination” for the Jan. 11 elections.
She made the announcement at the inauguration of her national campaign headquarters in Taipei, while thanking Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) for his service.
“I want to give this important job to Lai, as 2020 will be a crucial year for Taiwan. So I asked Lai to run on the ticket with me, and for him lead the campaigns for legislative seats, so the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] can win a majority,” she said.
Photo: Fang Ping-chao, Taipei Times
“This will pave the way for better governance and rally all the forces of reform to work together,” she added.
“Right at the beginning of the [re-election] campaign, my only conviction was to win the election to safeguard Taiwan, as is the president’s duty,” she said. “Competition within our party has made us stronger. Now we unite in partnership to forge the strongest combination.”
Lai has had an accomplished political career, and he has a strong belief in and commitment to the future of Taiwan, she added.
“The Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] presidential candidate has used every opportunity to vilify us, using derogatory language to attack us,” Tsai said.
“I must say, the KMT has absolutely no understanding of democracy and its values, and what it means to come together in unity. Progress comes from competition. No matter how intense the competition, in the end our party can remain unified,” she said.
Thanking Chen, Tsai said that he has “served as my deputy with distinction. He is always filled with warmth and patience, and took on troublesome tasks to fix them so we could overcome many difficulties.”
In his speech, Lai said he had accepted Tsai’s offer because he feels she is sincere and the ticket would meet the public’s expectations.
“In this darkest hour, we are joining together to safeguard Taiwan, to maintain our beacon of democracy as a leading light for Hong Kong and to illuminate the world,” he said.
“In the face of a China, which is closing in at every stage and warning signs from Hong Kong, what can the Democratic Progressive Party in next year’s critical election battle give the people of Taiwan? Isn’t our most important mission to unite and defend Taiwan?” he said.
“As long as Taiwan wins, there will be no losers, but if Taiwan loses, then there will be no winners,” he added.
“My ideals and my values remain unchanged,” Lai said as he talked about challenging Tsai in the DPP primary.
“We are comrades within our party. Tsai is not my enemy and she is not my adversary. Together we have fought many battles and experienced hardships, and we will face many future challenges. However, now Taiwan needs us, and I will offer my heart and mind to fight this election,” he said.
The KMT said yesterday’s announcement was no surprise.
Lai has proclaimed himself a “pragmatic Taiwanese independence activist,” so Tsai’s decision to pick him suggests that “under Tsai’s ineffectual governance, she could only try to entice pro-Taiwan independence groups and seek support from the extremist edge of Taiwan’s political spectrum,” the party said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
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
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut