Thu, Oct 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office pans story about Chen and Su

NEXT TO NOTHING Officials said an article alleging the president was so angry with the premier that he had considered sacking him was without foundation

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday called on the public not to get stirred up by a report that claimed President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was upset with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) because Su did not consult with him before visiting political heavyweights.

"The president acknowledges Premier Su and the Cabinet he leads," Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said. "We hope the press would stop writing baseless reports and creating divisions because what we need right now is social stability."

Lee said there was nothing for Chen to get upset about in Su meetings with political figures because what was important was what was discussed, not the meetings themselves.

If what was discussed was how to make the nation a better place, then that would be good for both the president and the people of Taiwan and Chen would not be unhappy, Lee said.

His comments came in response to a story in this week's edition of Next Magazine, which hit newsstands yesterday.

The story quoted a source "close to President Chen" as saying that Chen was "very upset" with Su's meetings with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄).

"As the situation is now in President Chen's favor, the president would like to see Su to refrain from crossing the red line," the story said.

The story claimed that Chen was caught off guard on Sept. 24 when Su invited several political leaders for cross-party talks. Su's proposal was acknowledged by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

The story went on to claim that tensions between Chen and Su were heightened the following day when Su visited Lin in Ilan, without notifying Chen in advance.

The story quoted an anonymous "high-level DPP member" as saying that Chen was so angry he was ready to sack Su but eventually dropped the idea because he did not want to cause political instability.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) yesterday denied that Su was working with Lee Teng-hui to "annihilate" Ma.

Cheng was responding to a magazine claim that Lee has been pushing a plan to "distance himself from President Chen Shui-bian and strike at Ma Ying-jeou" and that a meeting between Lee and Su last Sunday was a step toward realizing that plan.

While Su and Lee did meet that day, they did not discuss Chen, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) or "driving Ma out of politics," as the magazine claimed, Cheng said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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