Thu, Sep 08, 2011 - Page 3 News List

WIKILEAKS: KMT rushes to deny claims about internal struggles

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu speaks to reporters yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials yesterday struggled to clarify claims of alleged power struggles within the party revealed by US diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks.

New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), whose conversations with then-American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director Stephen Young in 2008 and 2009 on struggles between figures within the KMT has caused a political storm, yesterday again denied making the comments, saying that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) trusted him to be cautious when addressing sensitive issues.

“This is an unexpected disaster, but I will face it with courage ... I believe the content of the cables were the personal interpretations of Stephen Young, which are distorted and inaccurate,” he said yesterday after attending a city cooperation event at Taipei City Hall.

According to the cables, Chu, a KMT vice chairman at the time, told Young Ma was not as naive as former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) when handling cross-strait relations, adding that Ma was trying to ease out the party’s “old guard,” including Lien and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

The cable also said Chu told Young shortly after Ma assumed the presidency in 2008 that Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) had recommended that then-premier Liu Chao-shuan (劉兆玄) form the Cabinet in order to thwart Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung’s (江丙坤) attempt to take over as premier, the cables said.

In the cables, Chu said that prior to the presidential election in 2008, Wang had invited him to serve as his running mate after a fortunteller told Wang that he would become the party’s presidential nominee because Ma would be forced to withdraw from the race after being indicted on charges of alleged misuse of his special allowance.

Siew yesterday dismissed the content of the leaked cables, saying that as a long-time friend and colleague of more than 30 years, he would never try to ruin Chiang’s chances of serving as premier.

Wang yesterday also denied the claims and dismissed another leaked US cable pertaining to his criticism of Ma.

A cable dated Feb. 14, 2007, said Wang told Young that Ma’s presidential chances “were finished” following his indictment in a special allowance corruption case, and that the KMT would select a new presidential candidate.

While expressing his intention to replace Ma as the party’s presidential nominee, Wang criticized Ma as a “poor and ineffective leader.”

Wang also described Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) as “too corrupt,” and Chiang as too powerless when discussing their presidential chances.

Wu yesterday said it was “impossible” for Wang to make such comments, adding that Young might have misunderstand Wang’s remarks.

“Maybe he heard it wrong because he is a foreigner. Maybe he didn’t hear it clearly,” he said.

Amid the rows sparked by the leaked cables, Chu yesterday dismissed concerns about his political future as a promising star in the KMT and a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

“Everyone [in the KMT] still has confidence in me,” he said.

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