Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

KMT: Party denies Wu planning China trip

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih speaks at a banquet in Chiayi City on Jan. 13.

Photo: Wang Shan-yen, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday denied a media report that said KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) was planning to lead a delegation of 15 KMT mayors and county commissioners to China after his three-year travel ban expires in May.

“The KMT solemnly declares that there is no such arrangement and it is too early to discuss the matter,” the KMT said in a news release in response to a report published on Thursday by the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine.

The report cited an unnamed pan-blue camp member as saying that Wu was trying to replicate a 2016 visit by a pan-blue delegation composed of eight KMT and two independent local officials to China by leading a similar delegation after May 20 to pave the way for a potential presidential bid next year.

As of May 20, Wu will no longer be subject to a three-year travel ban stipulated in the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法), which states that officials who have handled classified information must obtain approval before leaving the country after they leave office.

The purpose of the trip would be to attend a KMT-Chinese Communist Party forum — which is normally an annual event, but has been suspended for the past two years — and to discuss both sides’ rhetoric on cross-strait relations, the report said.

KMT Mainland Affairs Committee director Chou Jih-shine (周繼祥) is still in talks with Beijing on the matter, it said, citing another source as saying that it was uncertain whether China would agree to resuming the forum, or a meeting between Wu and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

However, as three of the KMT’s more high-profile local heads — Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Li-shan (張麗善) — do not plan to join Wu, the KMT leader’s trip to boost his electoral prospects might not go ahead, the report said.

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