Fri, Apr 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Han denies that he demanded presidential spot

SHOW OF SUPPORT:The Kaohsiung mayor said that if Terry Gou were elected, his ‘open lines’ to Beijing and Washington could prove beneficial to Taiwan

By Wang Jung-hsiung, Chu Pei-hsiung and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu is yesterday lifted up by two supporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport as he waves to the crowd after returning from a nine-day visit to the US.

Photo: CNA

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday said he did not write a letter demanding that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) to make him the party’s presidential candidate without a primary.

Han made the comment at a news conference at Kaohsiung City Hall after returning from a nine-day visit to the US.

On Wednesday, Chung Hua University professor Tu Tze-chen (杜紫宸) said on ETToday’s online news talkshow Yunduan Zui Qianxian (雲端最前線) that Han made the demands in writing prior to departing for the US on Tuesday last week.

Asked for comment, Han said that he did not write a letter to Wu and and asked reporters to name the source of the allegation.

Han said that a statement he made earlier in the day at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, that he and Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) were “bearing the weight of the heavens,” was made in jest.

At the airport, Han said that he had “made no plans” regarding the presidential election, after praising Gou as “an invaluable talent in the pan-blue camp and good for the KMT.”

If elected president, Gou’s business acumen could help Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and provide a fresh approach to international relations, Han said, adding that Gou’s “open lines” to Washington and Beijing could be useful to Taiwan.

The next president must keep Taiwan safe and make the people rich, Han said, before panning the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for “not handling cross-strait policy and getting Taiwan stuck diplomatically.”

“The security situation of Taiwan gives me cold sweats,” Han said.

Gou on Wednesday announced his decision to join the KMT’s presidential primary and has maintained that he would not accept direct recruitment by the party headquarters.

The KMT on Wednesday awarded the business tycoon a citation for his contribution to the party.

Gou provided an interest-free loan of NT$45 million (US$1.46 million at the current exchange rate) in the name of his mother to the KMT when it was in serious financial difficulties in 2016.

Prior to Gou’s announcement, Han was seen as the KMT’s most favored presidential candidate, with many party members calling on KMT headquarters to recruit the mayor as its candidate without a primary, as he has repeatedly stated his lack of interest in the presidency.

Additional reporting by CNA

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