Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lai and Wu leave private meeting upbeat

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and former vice president Wu Den-yih, left, Premier William Lai, second left, and Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming shake hands yesterday as Lai made a courtesy call at Wu’s former vice presidential office in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday vowed he would act on suggestions made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) in a meeting between the two, which was seen as a precursor to a cross-party leaders’ meeting on reforms proposed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last month.

The meeting was officially described as being between the “incumbent premier and a former premier.” It took place as Wu seems reluctant to join Tsai’s proposed cross-party leaders’ reform meeting.

Wu served as premier between 2009 and 2012 under then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), before joining Ma’s re-election ticket in the 2012 presidential race and serving as vice president for the next four years.

Lai arrived at Wu’s s office in the company of Executive Yuan officials and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘). Wu greeted him by the elevator door before the two retreated to closed doors meeting for about 70 minutes.

In a joint news conference after the meeting, Lai said Wu had offered him much good advice and expressed his gratitude for Wu’s support during his tenure as premier for infrastructure projects in Tainan, where Lai served as mayor for almost seven years.

“First of all, he encouraged me to be selfless and to transcend party lines when representing the government, as I am now serving the entire nation,” Lai said.

He said Wu also mentioned a number of public projects that required special attention, including the relocation of the 205th Arsenal in Kaohsiung — where Wu served as mayor between 1990 and 1998 — air pollution problems in the vicinity of the coal-fired Taichung Power Plant and a possible extension of the planned Taichung Mass Rapid Transit system to Nantou County.

“Wu also told me that the government should strive for peace across the Taiwan Strait. If cross-strait ties could develop stably, it will be of great help to Taiwan, China and regional peace,” Lai said, adding that his Cabinet would endeavor to promote such policies in the hope of pushing the nation forward.

Wu said he was delighted about the opportunity to share his opinion and suggestions with the premier, particularly regarding pollution problems caused by the Taichung Power Plant that have affected Taichung and the surrounding of Changhua, Nantou and Yunlin counties.

“Premier Lai expressed his hope that the government’s budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year could successfully be delivered for legislative review. I will do everything I can to help with this matter and talk to the KMT caucus,” Wu said.

Despite belonging to different parties, Wu said he and Lai shared similar beliefs, namely that they want what is best for Taiwan and cross-strait development, and aspire to build a fair and prosperous society that is marked by equal distribution of wealth.

“We found many points of strong agreement in today’s meeting,” Wu said.

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