Sun, Jan 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT supports Cabinet post for PFP chairman

BRIDGE-BUILDING The KMT has been ambiguous about cooperating with the DPP, but has signaled that it would support a Cabinet with Soong in it

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Continuing the rash of rumors about the possibility of cooperation between the People First Party (PFP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), speculation that the DPP might ask PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to become a member of the next Cabinet gained cautious support from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday.

Speaking in response to long-time rumors that Soong is being approached by the DPP about a Cabinet position, KMT Legislator and Central Policy Committee executive director Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) yesterday said that KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) would be willing meet with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Soong. Furthermore, said Tseng, if Chen is sincere in his offer of a Cabinet position to Soong, Lien would be supportive of the move.

The news comes on the heels of other rumors that the DPP is also seeking to tap Soong to become the head of the Cabinet-proposed Committee for Cross-Strait Peace and Development and that DPP caucus whip and acting chairman Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) went to the US last week to meet Soong to persuade him to accept the offer.

The PFP has consistently denied that Soong is interested in the DPP-led government. However, the PFP has also maintained that it is open to cooperating with any party on issues not related to the nation's status or title -- a position that has fueled the recent speculation.

When questioned yesterday about the rumors, Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) declined to comment, only laughing when asked about it. Su was visiting party members as part of his campaign for the DPP chairmanship yesterday. At least one pan-green leader was openly supportive of PFP-DPP cooperation yesterday.

"[Potential PFP-DPP cooperation] is very good. It will be very helpful for the stabilization of the nation's political scene, especially since Taiwan has worked so hard for so many years," said former president Lee Tung-hui (李登輝) in response to queries while he celebrated his 84th birthday yesterday.

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