Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday denied a rumor that his friendship with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) ended because he established the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).
Chinese-language online news outlet Up Media yesterday quoted an unnamed source purportedly close to Soong as saying that Soong had originally planned to cooperate with Ko, nominate him as a presidential candidate and jointly nominate legislator-at-large candidates for next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
However, Soong became embittered after Ko formed the TPP last month, as it could divide the legislator-at-large votes that would go to the PFP, Up Media said, adding that Soong even considered resigning his Taipei City Government adviser post to show his discontent.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Asked for comment, Ko yesterday said that he has only met Soong once after the Lunar New Year holiday, adding that he needs to find some time to visit him.
Ko said he did not inform Soong about forming the TPP ahead of time, because it was a sudden decision made at a lunch meeting and he did not think their friendship would be affected by it.
PFP Organization Department director Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) said Soong has considered asking Ko to be his successor as PFP chairman, but he dropped the idea after Ko formed the TPP.
Soong gives Ko his blessings for the new party, Chang added.
Asked if the PFP might work with Hon Hai Precision Industry founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Ko in the elections, Chang said the party holds an open attitude and is willing to cooperate with friends who hold the same ideals.
Asked to comment on Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng’s (蔡衍明) remark on Monday that he had helped Ko on cross-strait issues several times and that he saw him as a friend, Ko said he knows that Tsai is not a bad person, but added that “the way Tsai loves Taiwan makes me speechless.”
Tsai suggested that he say “Taiwanese are Chinese” at the annual Taipei-Shanghai twin-city forum, Ko said, adding that he “ran away after hearing” it, because he believes no Taiwanese would accept it if “Chinese” means People’s Republic of China citizens.
Additional reporting by CNA
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