Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday said that she respects a person’s “freedom of expression” when asked to comment on KMT Central Standing Committee member Chiang Shuo-ping’s (江碩平) announcement that he intends to seek a provisional party congress to assess whether Hung should be replaced as the party’s candidate in next year’s election.
When further pressed by journalists over whether she supports the proposal for the party to call a provisional party convention, a solemn-looking Hung only said: “I respect it, I respect it.”
Chiang reaffirmed his intention yesterday, saying that he has answered nearly 100 telephone calls from grassroots party members in recent weeks, all of whom have said they are worried that Hung continues to lag well behind Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in opinion polls.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
“They all asked me what the party can do about it,” Chiang said, adding that there is a growing sentiment within the party that Hung should be replaced.
He reiterated that he is planning to ask the Central Standing Committee during its meeting on Wednesday to convene a provisional party congress for talks on whether Hung should be replaced as the KMT’s nominee for the presidential race.
“It is not because Hung is not good... We can only say that she lacks the charisma to draw everyone to like her, in a similar way to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” Chiang said.
Asked who is liked by everyone, he said: “I don’t know.”
Morale at the grassroots level has been very low and people are anxious, “otherwise I would not bring up the proposal,” Chiang said, adding that he is confident that his proposal to hold a provisional party congress will be adopted.
Meanwhile, some KMT voters left messages on Hung’s official Facebook page yesterday, while some others slammed Chiang, with one saying that “I will not vote for any KMT candidate in the legislative elections if Hung is replaced.”
In addition to the presidential race, the KMT is expected to face a tough challenge to maintain its majority in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan in next year’s legislative elections, which are to be held simultaneously with the presidential vote.
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it