Fri, May 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Soong not content with Lee's reconciliation offer


People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has refused to accept former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) offer of reconciliation in a slander case because Lee had not shown sincere regret for having defamed him, his lawyer said yesterday.

"A settlement is impossible before the other party expresses an apology," Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) told the Taiwan High Court, which was holding a second-trial hearing in a slander suit Soong filed against Lee.

During the first trial, the Taipei District Court ruled that Lee must pay NT$10 million (US$313,774) in compensation and run an apology in nine newspapers for alleging Soong was playing mahjong on April 10, 2004, while his supporters were demonstrating in the streets against the previous month's presidential election results.

After he lost the first round, Lee issued a "reconciliation statement" saying his remarks were not aimed at a specific individual and that he was only making comments on "something that should be open to public comment."

Lee has expressed willingness to accept a higher court's effort to mediate a settlement, which included running his statement in a newspaper of his choice.

Huang said the statement hadn't indicated any sense of regret or compromise, and since Soong could not feel any sincerity or true reconciliation, "it's indeed difficult to accept."

Moreover, Lee's settlement plan did not mention compensation for tainting Soong's name and an open apology to Soong, she said, adding that a settlement would not be possible until Lee apologizes.

Lee's lawyer, Ku Li-hsiung (顧立雄), has asked the court to investigate if Soong was in the habit of playing mahjong and if he had participated in the protest from beginning to end.

Mahjong matters:

* The Taipei District Court ruled that Lee Teng-hui must pay James Soong NT$10 million in compensation and run an apology in nine newspapers.

* The Taiwan High Court is now hearing the slander suit Soong filed against Lee.

* Soong has refused to accept Lee's `reconciliation' statement because he feels that it lacks sincerity.

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