Sat, Sep 03, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Julian Kuo sworn in to take over Koo’s legislative seat

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator-at-large Julian Kuo (郭正亮) took his oath of office yesterday, replacing Wellington Koo (顧立雄), who vacated his legislative seat to head the Committee of Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement, which was officially launched on Wednesday.

The DPP’s selection of Kuo has met with strong opposition from anti-drunk driving groups, because Kuo was caught driving under the influence in February.

Kuo said after the swearing-in ceremony that he would honor a promise he made before taking the job, which is to promote anti-drunk driving legislation.

He said he would continue to communicate with anti-drunk driving groups, who have said they would stage a sit-in in front of DPP headquarters in Taipei once Kuo assumed his seat.

Asked about the recent appointment of Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) to head the Straits Exchange Foundation, Kuo said he had known Tien for many years, adding that Tien has a good working knowledge on China and has a good understanding of cross-strait affairs and the US.

“[Tien], I believe, is therefore a fitting choice to facilitate [cross-strait] communication, but frankly I think the ball is in China’s hands,” he said, especially now that Beijing has little room for maneuver before the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

“I also believe that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has made the greatest concession possible in her inaugural speech, in which both the Republic of China Constitution and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) were mentioned,” said Kuo, whose cross-strait stance has long been considered more pro-China than the DPP in general.

“It is up to China to decide how to interpret it,” he said.

Kuo said Tsai has shown that she is determined to maintain the status quo, and while their views might differ, there is certainly room for the DPP and the CCP to come up with a different cross-strait narrative.

“I do maintain certain viewpoints concerning cross-strait economic exchanges and trade that are not exactly in line with other [DPP members], but I do not think of them as being that different,” he said, when asked about his “pro-China” stance.

“President Tsai has also said that as long as it does not touch on the [so-called] ‘1992 consensus,’ negotiations over the cross-strait trade in goods and service trade agreements could continue,” Kuo said. “After all, China is part of the global market, so I consider it reasonable to uphold a view that calls for cross-strait negotiations over a workable economic model that [also puts emphasis on fair] distribution.”

Kuo said he would follow the party line when it comes to voting in the legislature, while trying to iron out the differences before the vote if there are differences in their cross-strait policy stance.

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