Wed, Nov 21, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Ko rejects remark on China-backed run for presidency

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, poses with a supporter while campaigning at a market in Shilin District yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday rejected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pasuya Yao’s (姚文智) remark that Ko claimed that China wants him to run for president.

Yao, who is challenging Ko in Saturday’s election, on Monday asked whether that was the reason Ko later made a remark about both sides of the Taiwan Strait being “one family,” citing an interview of Ko published in 2016 by the National Taiwan University Medical Student Association.

In the interview, Ko said that he would “probably not run for president, although people in China keep telling me to” and that he felt he might have a chance of winning the election if he ran.

Ko’s stance on China has been inconsistent, so who in China wants him to run for president, why and when did they contact him, Yao said.

Ko yesterday said he had expected people to speculate on him running for president, but added that he has not made any preparations to run.

However, many people have taken the hypothetical situation seriously, leading to lots of media coverage, he said.

“Not only people in China, guests from other nations are also asking me about it, including those from Japan and the US,” Ko said, adding that the guests included think tank members, academics, reporters and members of semi-governmental organizations.

Asked if he would consider announcing that he would not run for president in 2020, Ko said: “I hate it when politicians in Taiwan are forced to make a promise hastily, because just look at those [politicians] who vowed to quit politics [if they lose an election]; who has really stepped away from it?”

In related news, Yao yesterday urged his party to deal with Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻), who is a member, after Chen urged people to vote for Ko on stage at a campaign event on Sunday.

Chen on Monday said that he was only expressing to supporters his thoughts on Ko’s hardworking, honest and upright characteristics, and that he thinks the DDP is tolerant enough not to expel him from the party.

Ko yesterday defended Chen, saying that he has been a loyal senior DPP member for many years, so he thinks the party should not be too merciless.

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