Sun, Oct 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

ELECTIONS: Council calls on China not to meddle

By Ke Yu-hao and Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporters, with CNA

The Mainland Affairs Council on Friday asked China to honor its pledge that it would not meddle in Taiwanese elections.

The council made the remarks following accusations by the Taiwan Radical Wings party that three Chinese airlines have been providing flight tickets to Taiwan for less than one-third of normal prices for travel in the 14 days leading up to the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections.

The party called on the government to draw up countermeasures to prevent China from meddling in the elections by coercing China-based Taiwanese to travel home and vote for candidates favored by Beijing.

The council said that the government welcomes China-based Taiwanese who return to vote, as is their constitutional right.

It would look into Taiwan Radical Wings’ allegations, the council said, adding that it warned China not to interfere with the nation’s elections in any way.

Separately, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said it welcomed help offered by a Taiwanese business association based in China to secure flight discounts for Taiwanese to return to vote in the elections.

Foundation Deputy Secretary-General Kuan An-lu (管安露) on Friday said it looked forward to Taiwanese businesspeople in China returning home to exercise their right to vote.

Discounted fares have typically been available in the run-up to elections to boost turnout among Taiwanese living in China, Kuan said, whose semi-official agency is responsible for handling contact with China in the absence of official ties.

However, Taiwanese students in China are not expected to return home in large numbers, as the vote is in the middle of the school year, Kuan said.

There were no signs of Taiwanese business groups in China organizing charter flights for the elections, she said.

Shanghai Association of Taiwan vice president Hu Hsing-chung (胡興中) said that the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland has reached an agreement with several airlines on either side of the Taiwan Strait to provide fare discounts.

The discounts are to be disclosed soon, the association said.

The nine-in-one elections are to choose mayors and councilors in the six special municipalities and other cities, Aboriginal district representatives and councilors, county commissioners and councilors, township mayors and councilors, and borough and village wardens.

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