The three presidential candidates last night faced off in the third and final televised policy presentation hosted by the Central Election Commission (CEC).
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking re-election as the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, said that Taiwan under her leadership has made much progress, with an improved economy and a new national policy that aims to close developmental gaps between the nation’s regions.
She reiterated that Taiwan would not accept China’s proposed “one country, two systems” framework.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Television Enterprise
In defending her administration’s policies, Tsai said that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administrations long focused on providing financial support and infrastructure development to northern Taiwan, particularly Taipei and New Taipei City, while mostly neglecting central and southern Taiwan.
Listing the programs in her Great South, Great Development policy, Tsai said that residents of southern Taiwan would benefit significantly from the initiatives, which would create jobs and prosperity.
The policy would boost development of the national defense and shipbuilding industries through the construction of submarines and warships in Kaohsiung, as well as attract businesses to establish a presence in new science parks in the region, she said.
The president also listed public infrastructure projects under construction, including highways, railways and other transportation systems in southern and central Taiwan, which she said would benefit residents and boost economic development — things previous KMT government’s failed to achieve, resulting in an unequal distribution of the nation’s resources.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s candidate, invoked the “good old days” under the KMT of strong economic growth and a functioning civil service, with society in harmony — unlike the conflicts of the past few years.
He attacked the DPP, saying that it was controlled by the supposedly disbanded New Tide faction, adding: “Tsai is president during the day, but the New Tide faction is president at night.”
Han also accused many DPP members and Tsai administration officials of being greedy and mired in corruption.
In the previous policy presentations, Tsai said that Han had no evidence to support such claims, and that he has consistently used incorrect figures and misinformation to mislead the public.
Tsai asked Han and his party to apologize for the discriminatory statements and perceived misogynistic remarks over the past weeks, but Han accused Tsai of having a double standard and questioned her not taking a stand when the DPP called his campaign spokeswoman, Ho Ting-huan (何庭歡), wallpaper and when the DPP employed the government apparatus to constantly smear his wife, Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬).
Han and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), the PFP’s candidate, criticized Tsai’s handling of cross-strait relations and the DPP’s push to pass an anti-infiltration bill before the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, which they said would target Taiwanese businesses, students and professionals in China.
Aside from shouldering the responsibility of national security, the nation’s leader must also protect human rights, Soong said, explaining his opposition to the DPP-proposed legislation.
Soong pledged that if elected, he would review the pension system, conduct an inventory of state property and retrieve money that has been “corrupted” by Tsai’s administration to fund its pension reforms.
Tsai, Han and Soong are to meet again tomorrow for a televised debate hosted by Public Television Service.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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