Concerned about president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan’s (劉兆玄) choice of former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairwoman, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged their leaders to give priority to the party “faithful” when making future Cabinet appointments.
Approached for comment, KMT caucus acting secretary-general Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said the caucus did not oppose the Cabinet lineup Liu had made public so far.
“But we would like to remind them again that the KMT is full of talented people,” he said.
“Over the past eight years, these loyal KMT members worked hard to supervise the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [government]. They also did their best to campaign for the KMT during legislative and presidential elections,” he said.
Hsieh said the caucus respected Ma’s authority to nominate Cabinet officials, but the reaction to Lai’s nomination was “unavoidable.”
Hsieh urged Lai to endorse Ma’s platform of commencing direct weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China on July 4 before she assumes office.
He also called on Lai to specify what supplementary measures she would propose if the cap on Taiwanese listed firms’ investment in China were to be lifted.
“If the two issues could be resolved, we would feel relieved [about Lai’s nomination],” he said.
Some KMT legislators expressed reservations about Ma’s choice of Lai as MAC head after Liu unveiled a second round of Cabinet appointees on Monday.
Some questioned whether having a pan-green MAC chairwoman would have a negative impact on cross-strait negotiations.
Ma defended his decision on Monday, saying that Lai’s appointment would help the incoming administration find common ground with the more than 5 million people who did not vote for him in last month’s election.
However, KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) said that Lai’s nomination had cast a cloud on cross-strait relations, adding that KMT members would have felt more “warmth” if Ma and Liu had had consulted them prior to “such an important appointment.”
In response to the criticism, Ma said he had appointed Lai to seek social consensus on cross-strait issues, urging the public to reserve judgment until they have seen Lai’s performance.
“Ms Lai has said that she agrees with my cross-strait stance. I think the public should give her a chance and not reject her before she has assumed the post,” Ma told reporters after attending an activity in Taipei County yesterday.
He also dismissed allegations that Lai was recommended by former president and TSU spiritual leader Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
“It was my decision to appoint Ms Lai and it did receive Mr Lee’s approval,” Ma said.
“But Mr Lee did not recommend Ms Lai to me,” he said.
After pushing for the development of cross-strait relations for more than 20 years, Ma said he realized that consensus was key to negotiating cross-strait issues.
“[Lai’s appointment] was my attempt to forge social consensus on cross-strait issues,” Ma said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,