Fri, Jan 17, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Tseng pledges to deliver on KMT chair by-election

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Acting Secretary-General William Tseng talks to the media at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Acting Secretary-General William Tseng (曾銘宗) yesterday said that he would be fully responsible for organizing the party’s chairperson by-election following concerns over KMT Acting Chairman Lin Rong-te’s (林榮德) ties with China, while young party members called for a debate on the party’s cross-strait platform.

The KMT Central Standing Committee on Wednesday selected Lin as acting chairman in a surprise meeting after former KMT chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) stepped down to shoulder responsibility for the party’s defeats in Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections.

The KMT had initially announced after a routine committee meeting earlier on Wednesday that no acting chairperson had been appointed and that Tseng would handle party affairs during the transition period.

However, the extraordinary meeting — of which some of the party’s upper management were reportedly unaware — was held minutes later, resulting in Lin’s selection.

Following the decision, questions have been raised about Lin’s ties with China, as he is a consultant for the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Lin had also been a deputy chief supervisor and deputy president of the association.

The organization advocates unification with China and has close ties to China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), with TAO Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一) and TAO Deputy Minister Fei Jinjin (斐金佳) serving as its head consultants.

Asked about Lin’s ties with China, Tseng yesterday said that Lin had conducted business in China and would only be acting chairman until the by-election on March 7.

Citing the decisions made at Wednesday’s routine meeting, Tseng said that he would handle all affairs related to the by-election.

As acting secretary-general, he said that his job is to ensure a fair and transparent by-election to find the best leader for the party.

“The KMT experienced a major setback in the elections, but we cannot afford to be pessimistic,” Tseng said. “Taiwan needs a strong opposition party.”

Although a new chairperson would not be elected until March, the party has begun discussing its reforms, he said.

Since Wednesday evening, he has been inviting younger KMT members to join his efforts to reform the party and has been consulting various members on ways to improve the party’s cross-strait policy, Tseng said, adding that perhaps the party could hold a debate on the subject.

Separately yesterday, KMT Youth League head Tien Fang-luen (田方倫) said that the group hopes to hold forums and debates among the party’s young members on adjusting the KMT’s cross-strait stance.

If the conclusion is that the party should keep the so-called “1992 consensus,” then everyone would support the decision, he said.

Otherwise, young party members would work to find a new cross-strait approach they can all agree on and propose the idea to KMT headquarters, he added.

Meanwhile, KMT Organizational Development Committee Youth Department director Hsiao Ching-yan (蕭敬嚴) said that he has been inviting young lawmakers, councilors and aides in the party to jointly draft a white paper on reforming the party.

If enough people join the cause, then the party would have to consider their opinion, he said.

The so-called “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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