Sun, May 04, 2003 - Page 2 News List

KMT vice chairman denies fresh rumors of defection

REPORT WRONG Colleagues referred to a recent report in a local Chinese-language daily, which they described as nothing but rumors and 'a work of art'

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite consistent rumors dogging KMT vice chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), making conjecture over his possible resignation from the party and linking his name with the DPP government, Siew's colleagues expressed firm confidence in Siew's fidelity toward his party.

"I personally don't think it is possible that Siew will defect from the KMT for the DPP," said KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), referring to a local Chinese-language daily report that said Siew had drafted a statement expressing his wish to leave the KMT.

The story went on to note that Siew had been contemplating the idea of leaving the party and a sense of discontentment with the KMT had been growing inside of him.

The story also repeated speculation about an ambiguous and ambivalent relationship between Siew and the KMT and noted the possibility that Siew would join the DPP administration in a high position.

"All these rumors surrounding Siew are works of art spread by the pan-green camp," Chen said. "These [rumors] are their tactic of wanting to foment dissension and drive a wedge between Siew and the KMT."

The article came just weeks after a report in the Business Weekly (商業週刊) linking Siew with the DPP, naming him as a possible running mate for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in next March's presidential election.

KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday rebutted the article that said Siew desired to quit the party, stressing that the party, on the other contrary, had planned to entrust Siew with more responsibility

"Although Siew recently has not been actively involving himself in political events, he however has been active in taking part in internal party affairs," Tsai said.

"Siew also promised Lien Chan that he would definitely help out with the party's campaign events [for next year's presidential election] once Lien kicks off his campaign activities."

While noting that outsiders' repeated speculation about an ambiguous and ambivalent relationship between Siew and the KMT has confounded both Siew and the party, Apollo Chen said his party comrades have not allowed those rumors to get in the way of their interaction and that there is absolutely no truth in the rumors.

"To the best of my knowledge, there is no lingering uneasiness and discomfort between Siew and members of the party's Central Standing Committee," said Apollo Chen, a member of the committee -- the highest decision-making body of the KMT.

"Although Siew doesn't speak up often during the committee meetings [which convenes once a week,] it does not mean that he is disinterested in party affairs," Chen said.

"I think Siew is simply just resetting his direction -- to slowly remove himself from the political arena but to focus his attention to his areas of expertise -- trade, economy and issues pertain to cross-strait economic exchanges," he said.

Siew is the director of the Chung-Hua Institute for Economic Research and chairman of the Taiwan Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation (兩岸共同市場基金會).

Noting that Siew has economic views that are opposed to that of the DPP administration, KMT Legislator Shyu Jong-shyong (徐中雄), also a member of the party's Central Standing Committee, said that "it is very unlikely that Siew will join the DPP."

For instance, Shyu said, while the DPP upholds a "lock-up" and "isolated" attitude toward trade and economic exchange with China, Siew embraces the idea of creating a common cross-strait market.

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