Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko accuses DPP of arrogance, mudslinging

CORE VALUES:Upholding universal values like democracy are more important than engaging in ideological debates on unification and independence, the mayor said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, arrives at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday as he returned from a visit to Israel.

Photo: Tony Yao, Taipei Times

Calling the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “arrogant because it holds power,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Tuesday said that he felt really sad that the party had “attacked its old allies for political gain” and even questioned his “Taiwanese values” last year.

Ko made the remarks while having a meal with several Taiwanese reporters in Israel.

He said that many people have criticized him for not having a core political value, but that is because he does not view independence or unification with China as the most important issue.

Sluggish economic growth and a host of other problems over the past 20 years stem from this focus on the conflict between the two ideologies, he said.

Universal values — “democracy, freedom, diversity and openness” — and following the “rule of law, human rights, caring for the underpriviledged and sustainable development” are the core values, Ko said, adding that he believes they are more important and that Taiwan still has room for improvement of the latter four.

“Frankly speaking, I remember President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) saying in her election victory speech on Jan. 16, 2016, that ‘as long as I am president, no one [in Taiwan] has to apologize for their identity,’ but two years later, I was asked what my ‘Taiwanese values’ are,” he said. “I was so sad at the time.”

“Being a Taiwanese, it took so long for us to finally see Taiwanese have complete control of the government,” he said.

He said he had supported Tsai at the time, privately canvassing votes for her and was very happy that she won the election, but “how could I have known that it would change in two years?”

“Power tends to corrupt people,” Ko said, adding that a recent poll showed that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) garnered an approval rating that was about 10 percentage points higher than that of the DPP when it had not really accomplished anything, which he thought was unfair.

He said he has been a target of criticism by media outlets since 2016 and was even accused of being a China bootlicker (抹紅) because of a few incidents in 2017.

Ko said that made him feel that the DPP had smeared him — an old ally — for political gain.

This demonstrates the party’s arrogance because it now holds power, he said.

He said he often thought about how to improve himself when he is criticized, but when he made several suggestions or comments on the Executive Yuan’s Forward-

looking Infrastructure Development Program or on a few controversial issues, the central government rejected them.

In another interview in Israel on Monday after visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, Ko said that he think Israelis show a strong solidarity because the Holocaust was too painful and shocking, and understanding history helps people reflect on themselves.

While time can heal many things, the pain for the victims may be difficult to heal, like his father, the son of a victim of the 228 Incident, who still weeps when he attends the annual 228 Incident memorial ceremony, Ko said.

On his return to Taiwan yesterday, Ko was asked to comment on a remark by a family member of a 228 Incident victim, who said the mayor was an “opportunist.”

Ko said it is difficult to satisfy everyone and all he can do is try to explain and communicate with the public.

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