Sat, Feb 05, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Premier Hsieh rebuffs KMT's demand for talks

CABINET HOTSEAT Frank Hsieh said he could not hold party-to-party talks with the KMT because he is not the head of the Democratic Progressive Party

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that he could not accept the conditions the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has outlined in exchange for having one of its members name vice premier.

Hsieh said he was not the head of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), so he could not negotiate with the KMT on a party-to-party basis.

He said that he hoped KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) could change his mind after the Lunar New Year and that they would be able to meet after the holidays.

On Wednesday the KMT declared that if Hsieh wanted to appoint KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) to be vice premier, then the DPP and the KMT had to reach a consensus first on certain issues.

The issues include Taiwan's national status, direct links with China, construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, changing the nation's name, the proposed party assets bill and the investigation into the assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

"The KMT says that the parties have to negotiate and cooperate, but since I am the premier and not the DPP chairman, I cannot conduct party-to-party negotiations with the KMT," Hsieh said.

The premier made the remarks when he attended a flower show in Changhua County yesterday.

In the morning Hsieh visited Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) at the Legislative Yuan to talk about relations between the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan. They also touched upon the subject of the vice premier's post.

According to Wang, Hsieh said that cross-party negotiation was something to be conducted by the parties, and he would not interfere with it.

But Hsieh also hoped that if Chiang decided not to take the position, he would be informed as soon as possible so he could make appropriate arrangements, Wang said.

"Premier Hsieh and I mainly exchanged opinions regarding current affairs and the interactions between the two yuan," Wang said after the meeting.

"Premier Hsieh told me that if Chiang could [become vice premier] it would be great, but if not he hoped to be informed as soon as possible," Wang said.

Hsieh did not talk to reporters after the meeting.

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