Tue, Jan 04, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP courting Soong to take up SEF helm

REACHING OUT High-ranking DPP officials said while mourning the late Koo Chen-fu that James Soong would be suitable for the SEF chairmanship

By Jewel Huang and Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTERS

As the news that Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) passed away spread yesterday morning, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) immediately suggested that People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) take over Koo's post as mediator of cross-strait affairs.

"The office of the SEF is a also a key position to promote the cooperation between the governing and opposition parties," said DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) yesterday.

"If PFP Chairman Soong doesn't think the position is too small, I think he is an ideal candidate," Lee added.

"But it is up to Soong, and we couldn't force him," Lee said.

"At any rate, infinite possibilities exist between cooperation of the DPP and the PFP and the other opposition party," he said.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Huang Tsung-yuan (黃宗源) yesterday said his party gave a positive evaluation to Koo's efforts to advance the cross-straits relations.

"If the Presidential Office does appoint Soong to take over the SEF chairman, the TSU would approve of this," Huang said.

The PFP's response to the invitation extended by the DPP's legislative caucus yesterday morning was low key.

Koo has just passed away, said PFP deputy secretary-general Chin Chin-sen (秦金生) yesterday after paying his respects at Koo's mourning hall in Taipei. While saying that the time is not right to discuss a SEF succession, Chin further said that the PFP would not join with any one party, as it had a commitment to its voters. While Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) refused to comment on the news yesterday, KMT spokesperson Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) implied to reporters yesterday that the DPP was seeking to take advantage of Soong.

"The DPP is one moment suggesting that Soong become the next head of a cross-strait peace committee, and one moment saying he should be the next head of the SEF. Mr. Soong is a very smart man. I think he can understand what the DPP is up to," the KMT's spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said yesterday afternoon after accompanying Lien to Koo's mourning hall.

However, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) echoed the pan-green camp's invitation, saying that Soong is an ideal candidate for SEF chairman.

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