Tue, Dec 23, 2003 - Page 3 News List

KMT skirts around issue of Lee Teng-hui land deals

By Huang Tai-lin and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday held back from targeting former president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) at a press conference held to declare the party's assets.

Despite media speculation that officials would highlight land deals made under Lee's chairmanship, the party yesterday spoke only of deals made during the chairmanship of incumbent Lien Chan (連戰).

KMT Legislator Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) told reporters at the KMT headquarters that the party had given all documents relating to land ownership to lawyers and had been carrying out the liquidation of party assets since Lien assumed the party chairmanship in April 2000.

In an apparent effort to draw a line between Lee Teng-hui and Lien with regard to any disputed party assets, Lee Chuan-chiao said that land deals that took place under the leadership of Lee Teng-hui were currently under investigation by government agencies.

"The party is willing to provide any necessary information if such is needed during the course of any investigation," Lee Chuan-chiao said.

Y.R. Lee (李永然), who heads the KMT's team of lawyers, added that out of the 165 properties that had been donated or transferred to the party, 121 of them had already been returned to the original donors.

"The remaining ones are still undergoing negotiation," the lawyer said.

According to information given by the KMT, the party, in the three years since Lien took up the party chairmanship, has sold off stock worth NT$58 billion.

The money was used to balance a NT$34.7 billion deficit hanging over party-owned corporations, settle NT$10 billion in outstanding bank loans and as part of a NT$5 billion reimbursement package for party staff who had been laid off as the result of the party's restructuring efforts.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday exchanged barbs in a row over the KMT's assets and the integration of the two regions.

At a ceremony to pray for the progression of the MRT's Hsinchuang line, Su said that the KMT had not brought any property to Taiwan when it fled China in 1949 and that all the money the party had accumulated had been taken from the nation and the people.

"The KMT should give back the money it has taken by force from the nation's treasury, which it has enjoyed for 50 years," Su said.

"The party should not be dishonest when facing the issue of the party's assets. I hope Lien Chan will return the assets taken from the nation's treasury to the people with sincerity this time," Su said.

However, Ma said that Su had taken advantage of the assets issue in a bid to increase tensions among Taiwan's ethnic groups.

"It is disappointing to see someone try to trap the KMT on the issue of its assets," Ma said.

Ma also said that Lien had dealt with the issue decisively and that the property rights on the building housing the KMT's headquarters were legal as far as he knew.

Su and Ma also argued about the integration of Taipei City and Taipei County, an idea that was recently proposed by Lien.

Ma said he was surprised that Su opposed any merger, as it would be beneficial to northern Taiwan's development.

Su, however, said that he was not opposed to the idea.

"What I oppose is carrying out the plan without thorough planning and a reasonable distribution of resources," Su said.

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