Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Wang Jin-pyng predicts chaos

PRICKLY ISSUE KMT members expressed surprise and dismay over the PFP's sudden decision to support a statute aimed at divesting the KMT of its stolen party assets

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday predicted that the People First Party's (PFP) decision to turn its back on long-term ally the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over the issue of the KMT's stolen assets would result in chaos.

"The parties' relationship could be described as a knot, as the two are entwined together," Wang told reporters.

A day after the government-sponsored statute aimed at divesting the KMT of its stolen assets was placed on the legislative agenda as a result of an about-face by the PFP, heavyweights from both parties visited Wang one after the other yesterday morning, presumably to discuss the issue.

The PFP's actions have been interpreted by some as a revenge attack after the reputation of Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), was allegedly "damaged" by KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who supposedly leaked a story about Soong to a foreign news outlet.

Soong, who initially hoped to represent the pan-blue camp as a candidate in the year-end Taipei mayoral election, declared his candidacy as an independent last Tuesday.

Reports in the Chinese-language United Daliy News and China Times on Saturday said that Ma, during an interview with a foreign news outlet, had talked about holding secret meetings with Soong in a bid to talk the PFP chairman out of running in the election. Ma allegedly told the journalists that he had been unsuccessful because he could not meet Soong's conditions.

Although the KMT immediately denied the report, the PFP said the episode would complicate its relations with the KMT.

Denying speculation that placing the statute on the legislative agenda was merely a bluff, PFP Legislator Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said yesterday that the party was taking the matter seriously.

"Even though the foundations established by Soong would also be subject to the statute, we still advocate reviewing the statute on party assets," Hwang said.

Hwang made the comment in response to a report in yesterday's Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), in which a KMT heavyweight was quoted as saying that Soong's foundations were established with KMT assets which Soong amassed when he served as the party's secretary-general.

KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said the KMT had realized that the statute would "become an issue" within the pan-blue camp.

"We just didn't expect it to happen so fast. During the regular KMT-PFP meeting [on Monday], we had a good conversation," Tsai said. "We initially thought that [Tuesday's] Procedure Committee meeting would proceed as we had discussed with the PFP on Monday. Not until 10 minutes before the Procedure Committee meeting did the PFP inform us that it would allow the statute [to be placed on the agenda]."

Ma said that his party was not opposed to the statute in principle, but that it opposed the fact that it targeted the KMT.

"We are not afraid of facing the party asset issue, but we don't accept any attempts to liquidate us," Ma said at KMT headquarters.

According to Ma, the KMT will propose its own version of the political party law which will deal with the party asset issue.

Ma acknowledged that some of the KMT's assets were acquired inappropriately, but argued that it had offered a report detailing its assets on Aug. 23 and had promised to deal with the issue as soon as possible.

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