Fri, May 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Soong resigns as senior adviser to the president

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

People First Party Chairman James Soong speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday afternoon announced that he was quitting as Presidential Office senior adviser following reports alleging that he supports China’s “one country, two systems” framework for Taiwan.

Local media on Monday reported that Soong had verbally agreed to the framework, which Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has lately been aggressively promoting.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday morning called on Soong to clarify his comments in person and said that if he supports the framework, the Presidential Office would have to ask him to leave.

Soong told a news conference in Taipei that his stance — as well as that of his party’s — on cross-strait issues has never wavered, nor will it in the future.

Such a stance — upholding the liberal and democratic values of Taiwan, maintaining its current way of life and protecting the Republic of China — is the keystone for stable and peaceful development of cross-strait relations, Soong added.

Soong said he would never compromise his beliefs and he would never agree to the Hong Kong method as a solution for cross-strait affairs.

He said that his talks during his recent visit to China centered on two concepts — “Two shores, one China” and “equal and sovereign rule on both sides” — which he said were a viable solution to achieve peace across the Strait.

“China has offered to explore alternatives and democratic negotiations are the only way both sides could come to the table and negotiate,” Soong said.

Every political party is free to express their opinion, as such negotiations are a means to an end, not an end to justify the means, he said.

Any “accord” reached must be ratified by two democratic processes — the full authorization of the state and the oversight of the Legislative Yuan, which represents public will, he said.

If need be, a referendum could be held, he added.

The Presidential Office said it respected Soong’s decision and issued a statement thanking him for attending the APEC summit as Tsai’s special envoy.

Since the controversy erupted, two close aides of Soong — former PFP Cultural and Communications Committee director Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) and committee deputy director Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) — have resigned.

Additional reporting by Su Yung-yao

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