Incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is set to officially take the party’s helm today and has already laid out several major changes to improve the party’s external relations and connections.
The DPP would re-establish a representative office in the US, as well as one in Japan, if possible, Su told reporters outside his office yesterday.
The former premier said on Monday that he plans to re-establish the DPP’s Department of China Affairs and establish a Chinese affairs committee that will include academics and experts, to engage Beijing with a flexible attitude and approach.
The moves would be an effort to improve the DPP’s relations with the US — which was accused by many DPP members of having offered support for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign — forge closer ties with Japan and, most importantly, promote exchanges with Beijing.
Responding to a reporter’s question on why the reactivated department would use the name “China” rather than “Mainland,” Su said “China” is a more neutral term.
“All the countries in the world call it China. China also calls itself China,” he said.
However, the new DPP head was not that upbeat when he spoke of Ma, who called and congratulated Su on his victory on Sunday night and extended an invitation for a meeting.
Su said the Presidential Office has shown a “lack of courtesy” when it stated that Su had agreed to meet with Ma. Su said he did not decline the invitation in their telephone conversation “out of courtesy.”
However, it would take intensive preparatory negotiations on the agenda before any meeting takes place, according to Su’s spokesperson, Andrew Wang (王閔生).
Su is expected to announce his appointment of the party’s secretary-general today, after taking over the chairmanship from outgoing interim chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊) in an official handover ceremony in Taipei.
Media reported that Su’s close aide Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀), who served as deputy Taipei County commissioner under Su, former representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and former Changhua County commissioner Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) are possible candidates for the position, but Su’s office declined to comment.
The appointments of the party’s deputy secretaries-general and various department directors are expected to be announced later this week.
Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) are among the political heavyweights who have been invited to attend the ceremony.
In other developments, former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) ended his week-long hunger strike in front of the Legislative Yuan on Monday night.
Warned by doctors about dehydration and malnutrition, Hsu announced the end of the hunger strike before being sent to hospital for a medical checkup.
Hsu staged his personal protest against Ma with three demands — freezing fuel and electricity prices, retaining a ban on beef imports containing residues of the feed additive ractopamine and giving a presidential pardon to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison sentence for corruption.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up