Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh meets Lee Yuan-tseh, stays mum on election

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday visited Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), whose last-minute endorsement of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in the 2000 presidential election was seen by some as a decisive factor in the DPP's victory.

But Hsieh told reporters after the one-hour meeting that they did not touch on election issues.

Lee, a Nobel laureate in chemistry and former president of Academia Sinica, surprised the public in the run-up to the presidential election in 2000 by releasing a video endorsement.

His support had been courted for months by presidential candidates, but in the end he backed Chen, hoping that a DPP government could crack down on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) money politics.

Hsieh said although he and Lee did not talk about elections, Lee said political leaders must possess moral integrity and sincerity.

Hsieh said he met such criteria and could stand the test of time, while at the same time taking a jab at his KMT rival, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who he said "likes to capitalize on the aura of other people to work to his personal advantage."

"I don't think it is a good thing for Ma to advertise that somebody endorses him right after he visits that person," he said. "I am different from Ma in this respect."

Hsieh also challenged the media to find out whether Ma met former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe when he visited Japan in August last year. It may be difficult to uncover Ma's words and deeds from when he was a student, Hsieh said, but it is easy to check them over the past year.

"The character of a national leader is very important," Hsieh said. "That person must not lie about things that did not happen or use other people to his advantage. He must have faith in himself."

Hsieh cited Ma's alleged meeting with Hwang Kun-hu (黃崑虎), president of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association, as another example.

Next magazine in August quoted one of Ma's staff as saying that Ma met with Hwang. Hwang held a press conference to publicly deny the allegation, saying the meeting never took place and asked Ma for clarification or an apology.

Hsieh said he and Lee also talked about nuclear energy and said there was room for discussion regarding whether the construction of the No. 4 Nuclear Power Plant should continue.

Lee has said that nuclear energy is a "necessary evil," while the DPP charter champions a nuclear-free homeland.

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