Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday challenged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to a TV debate, and urged Tsai to respond to difficult issues — especially those related to cross-strait ties.
Hung made the comments during a visit to an urban renewal project in New Taipei City alongside New Taipei City Mayor and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫).
In response to media queries over whether she would feel confident about taking on Tsai in a public debate, Hung said that every candidate should take the opportunity to discuss their ideas.
“Things can be sorted out by debate, and people can then make their decisions accordingly,” she said.
It is said that Sanlih Television has secured the consent of Hung and People First Party presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) to appear in a televised debate, but is still waiting for the agreement of Tsai.
Hung said she has not just consented to appearing in a debate with Tsai, but would welcome the opportunity, adding that she cannot understand “why Tsai has been dodging it.”
Tsai has been reluctant to appear in a debate because she “does not have a policy direction, which makes it difficult for her to hold her own in a debate,” Hung claimed.
Hung said the most pressing issue on any debate between the two would be cross-strait ties.
“While there are many issues on public welfare that could be discussed, the presidential candidates basically have similar views on public welfare,” Hung said. “But the cross-strait policy is about the nation’s future direction, which is extremely important.”
Asked whether the KMT planned to hold major campaign rallies — as the DPP has been doing for Tsai, with the upper echelons of the KMT in attendance, Chu said what matters the most is visiting local residents.
“Going to different places in a day, and … visiting constituencies personally is actually better than holding big campaign events,” he said.
Separately yesterday, Tsai rebutted criticism from Hung that she had declined to appear on a televised debate.
“Debate is an important part of a presidential campaign, and I have been preparing for it, but the timing is more appropriate after all the candidates have registered — that is how it has always been in the past,” Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
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