Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP scotches Chen-Soong talks

SEPARATE PATHS The People First Party's vice chairman seems to have shot down speculation that the DPP might find some joy in an unlikely coalition with his party

By Caroline Hong and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will not meet President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on his return from the US as reported by the media, PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) said yesterday.

Chang told reporters at CKS International Airport yesterday morning that he had just returned from a meeting with Soong in the US. He said he spoke with Soong about recent rumors of a coalition government being formed between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the PFP.

Stressing that the PFP is an "independent entity" with its own agenda, Chang said that there would be no meeting with Chen after Soong's return, and that PFP officials will not accept posts in the DPP government, as also had been reported in the media.

"Chairman Soong will not accept any position in the DPP administration, and there will be no Chen-Soong meeting," Chang said.

Chang declined to say when Soong would return to Taiwan from the US.

He also confirmed Soong's support for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) re-election bid for legislative speaker.

"There are, however, many in the PFP who are interested in being deputy legislative speaker," Chang said.

When asked if he was preparing to return to the KMT, Chang said he would not do so, though he also said he could not speak for any other party members.

In reaction to Chang's remarks, DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said chances of cooperation between the two parties were diminishing despite the DPP's month-long attempts to express goodwill to the PFP.

"The DPP's door is always open to the PFP and we have already put the ball in its court," Tsai said.

"However, judging from the pan-blue camp's defiant attitude in vetoing so many bills in the Legislative Yuan, I don't think we stand a very good chance of achieving political reconciliation," he said.

Tsai said that if the pan-blue camp remains uncooperative and provocative in the legislature, it would have to shoulder all res-ponsibility for the political and electoral consequences.

DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) again expressed pessimism when asked if DPP-PFP cooperation was still possible.

"I don't know what the Presidential Office's attitude about a Chen-Soong meeting is, but I do know that the door for cooperation has been shut in the Legislative Yuan," he said.

"The pan-blue camp is unable to think about things from the point of view of Taiwan's interests. It only sees party interests, which makes the DPP feel helpless," Lee said.

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