Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Siew denies he wants to leave the KMT

ONGOING RUMOR The KMT vice chairman said he is becoming frustrated by suggestions he wants to quit the KMT and asked the media to drop the subject

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Vice Chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) yesterday denied suggestions he was planning to quit the party next month.

"I am really not interested in politics right now," Siew told reporters at an economic forum yesterday morning. "And what I expect to do is to contribute to the nation ... rather than get involved in political struggles."

As a member of the KMT, he said, he would support the party's nominee in the upcoming presidential election. He also urged the media to stop publishing groundless speculation about his relationship with the DPP.

Siew spoke in response to reporters' questions about a new book by senior journalist Tzou Jiing-wen (鄒景雯) on Siew's political career, in which Chou says that Siew has repeatedly criticized KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰). The book also claimed Siew intended to leave the party in the middle of next month.

Siew said yesterday that such speculation was totally groundless, adding that since he promised President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to serve as the head of his economic advisory panel in June, numerous rumors of a rift between him and the KMT had begun to annoy him.

The book also said that Siew was upset because he was not consulted about his party's plans to cooperate with the PFP in next year's presidential election, especially Lien's decision to choose PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) as his running mate.

Siew said that Chou had interviewed him for just one hour on July 7 and they did not discuss KMT-PFP cooperation.

"We only discussed economic issues and I haven't even read read her book yet," Siew said.

"The KMT is a democratic party, which makes policy through democratic procedures," Siew said. "And the decision regarding the Lien-Soong ticket is a policy supported by all party members. As a member, I will uphold my obligations."

Lien refused to comment on the book yesterday and asked the media to stop spreading rumors.

In April last year, Chou published another book, entitled A Short Biography of Su Chih-cheng (傳略蘇志誠), which described Siew as a person who tended to "pretend to comply while acting in opposition."

Su, who used to be an aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), said in the book that he was strongly against Lee's decision to pick Siew as Lien's running mate in the 2000 presidential race because Siew's personality made him "unfit to become a leader."

The book quoted Su as saying that Siew, acting as premier, often feigned compliance to Lee but acted against him.

Siew threatened to take legal action over the claims but has not yet done so.

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