Mon, Dec 30, 2019 - Page 1 News List

2020 Elections: Candidates face off in televised debate

FINAL STRETCH:Han called the DPP a ‘Taiwan-selling’ firm, while the president said the nation should focus on self-reliance and Soong said he would let Taiwan shine

By Lin Liang-sheng, Chen Yun and Yang Chun-hui  /  Staff reporters

From left, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, People First Party Chairman James Soong and President Tsai Ing-wen prepare for a televised presidential debate in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei Photojournalists Association

The three presidential candidates for the elections on Jan. 11 yesterday faced off in the only televised presidential debate, which was hosted by the Public Television Service.

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate, was the first to make a statement according to a draw, followed by People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Han said that he would not forget his roots and pledged to spend three days of the week in Kaohsiung if elected president.

He would develop northern and southern Taiwan to bolster the nation’s economy, Han said.

He called the DPP the “biggest Taiwan-selling corporation,” accusing Tsai of deceiving supporters of Taiwanese independence, the Chinese Communist Party, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese.

Many DPP legislators have socialized with Beijing officials in China, but criticized them upon their return to Taiwan, Han said.

“Even the president of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union has protested against Tsai,” he said.

Han said that Tsai has pledged to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty and that she would not trade it for economic benefits from China.

Yet, Sunny Bank (陽信銀行), owned by the family of DPP Legislator Ho Chih-wei (何志偉), opened in Shanghai, while a DPP legislative candidate surnamed Chang (張) registered a company in China under the name “China, Taiwan,” he said.

Han said that he would “definitely defend the Republic of China’s [ROC] sovereignty.”

Soong called on voters to elect a candidate with competence to govern the nation, saying that a national leader must be capable of three things: upholding Taiwanese values of freedom and democracy while regaining people’s trust in the government and confidence in democratic politics; upgrading industries and boosting the economy to improve people’s welfare; and providing concrete solutions when dealing with crises.

Soong, who also ran in the 2016 presidential election, said that at the time he reminded Tsai not to let the DPP become “KMT-ized,” and yet over the past years she has allowed the party’s factions to guide the nation’s important policies.

Noting Tsai at the time pledged to “terminate political strife” on the grounds that “the responsibility of a president is to unite the nation and not to exploit conflicts for the sake of holding on to power,” Soong said that Tsai is now doing exactly that, adding: “It seems my speech today was written by you four years ago.”

Soong criticized the KMT as well, saying that the “industry chain of its monopolistic comprador group in cross-strait affairs is terrifying and abominable.”

The KMT’s assets probed by the government are only the tip of the iceberg, Soong said, adding that it is infuriating that many of its assets have became private property.

“We are small, but we are great,” Soong said in English.

Taiwan, although small in size, can achieve big things, he said, and called on the voters “to break free from the struggle between the pan-blue and pan-green camps by electing [me] to lead Taiwan toward a better future.”

Tsai said that the KMT at every election says that the ROC would be destroyed if the DPP comes to power, but the DPP has been in government twice now, and the ROC has not been destroyed.

As the ROC prepares for its 15th presidential term, it needs to focus on self-reliance in national defense, economic transformation, and safeguarding democracy and freedoms, she said, adding that Taiwan resolutely rejects China’s “one country, two systems” formula.

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