Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

PRC ‘would back any KMT rival’ to Tsai: expert

MACHINATIONS?Han Kuo-yu is said to have the backing of the Taiwan Affairs Office, while Terry Gou is close to a National People’s Congress official

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

With the results of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential primary polls scheduled to be announced on Monday, an observer specializing in cross-strait relations and Chinese politics said that Beijing would lend its support to “any candidate who can bring down President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).”

“They have their money on [Kaohsiung Mayor] Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), former Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and, of course, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲),” said the expert, who declined to be named.

Gou has close ties with Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu (栗戰書), who also sits on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee, the expert said.

They became acquainted when Gou launched an investment in Guizhou, China, and have remained close friends since, the observer added.

Han has the backing of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, which dismissed an accusation by Gou that it was attempting to meddle with the primary as a “fabrication,” the expert said.

“The CCP does not need to place all of its bets on one candidate, as its ultimate goal is to bring President Tsai down, so it needs to play safe,” the observer said. “Therefore, any candidate nominated by the KMT would gain a certain level of support from China.”

Regarding Gou’s remarks that “one China, different interpretations” meant that there are “two Chinas” and his calls to Beijing that it acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China, the observer said that Gou’s narrative departed from that of the KMT and sounded like that of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

There is concern that Gou is planning to secure the KMT’s nomination and make a U-turn after he is elected, they said.

Beijing has a use for Ko in next year’s election, as evidenced by its suggestion to him at the Taipei-Shanghai forum last week that he also visit Kunshan, and talk with members of the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland, the expert said.

If Ko enters the election, he would split the DPP’s votes, thus dealing a blow to Tsai and the DPP, the observer said.

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