Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko says Han is not the amateur he claims to be

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks during an interview on ETTV News yesterday.

Photo provided by ETTV News

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is not a “political amateur” or a “common civilian,” but is part of a political family, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko first made the remark in a TV interview on Tuesday night, during which he was asked to comment on two Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential hopefuls, Han and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who are being labeled by some as “the common civilian” and “the rich and powerful” respectively.

Han claimed to be a political amateur when running for mayor last year, stressing that he was “down-to-earth” and would push for a better “common civilian economy.”

“Is Gou from a rich and powerful family? He was born in a common family,” Ko said. “And you call Han Kuo-yu a common civilian? Come on, his wife and her family members have been county councilors for more than 50 years in total.”

When asked to elaborate yesterday, Ko said: “Han’s wife is from a political family. She, her father and her younger brother have all been Yulin County councilors for more than 50 years if you add them together, and Han has been a legislator for three terms and the deputy mayor of then-Zhonghe City.”

“So how can he be called a ‘political amateur’?” Ko said. “He is already part of a political family.”

When asked in the interview about Han’s idea that he could focus on his mayoral duties from Monday to Friday and run for president on weekends, Ko said he often works from 7am to 11pm every day with no clear definition between working and after-work hours.

“Common civilian” is a kind of mindset for politicians, and does not actually refer to the person’s background or how many years they have been a politician, Han said yesterday.

Ko also said that China is no longer like North Korea and has progressed, becoming become more like Singapore, so Taiwan should encourage it to continue progressing toward democracy and freedom, maybe at a gradual pace such as former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) prescribed.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) cross-strait policy is on a slippery slope, meaning that it was poorly handled initially, so now it has become more tense and unsolvable, Ko said, adding that a gesture of kindness toward China is needed.

Asked if his idea of “standing with the US and Japan and being friendly to China” differs from former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) foreign policy, Ko said the KMT’s problem lies in its “comprador culture,” because people are not upset about doing business with China, they are actually upset about the KMT being the only one that profits from exchanges with China.

Ko was asked if his remarks encouraging China to become democratized might obstruct the annual Taipei-Shanghai forum planned for next month.

He said that China has improved a lot since the Cultural Revolution, but it can still become even better, and that he believes “mutual understanding” between Taiwan and China is very important.

Asked if China has ever tried to force him to declare his stance on the so-called “1992 consensus” at the Taipei-Shanghai forum, Ko said: “I am not a Chinese Nationalist Party member, so I think they have a different standard for me.”

The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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