Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday rejected speculation that his meetings with former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) were part of a plan to run for president.
Ko visited Lee at his house in Taipei’s Cuishan Villa (翠山莊) community on Feb. 12 and met with Chen at his Kaohsiung home on Friday, during a visit to Kaohsiung and Pingtung.
The meeting with Lee was reported by a Chinese-language media outlet, which also claimed that an anonymous source said that Ko’s main purpose was to show concern for Lee’s recovery from a fall in November last year, and that Lee seemed happy to see Ko and also praised him for doing a good job.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
The meeting with Chen Shui-bian was confirmed by the former president on Facebook in a posting titled “New Hero Story,” with a photograph of himself next to Ko and his wife, Peggy Chen (陳珮琪), holding a manuscript that is to be published next month.
Asked by reporters about speculation that the visits implied a presidential run, and perhaps a tactical voting campaign to capture votes from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the mayor did not comment directly.
Visiting Lee or Chen Shui-bian is something that comes naturally, because he visits both men regularly, he said.
He had not seen Lee since the former president was hospitalized last year, because he did not want Lee’s doctor to feel pressured if he asked technical questions about Lee’s condition, Ko said, so he waited to visit him at home after Lee recovered.
He has a “doctor-patient relationship” with Chen Shui-bian, so he always visits him when he is in Kaohsiung, and since Chen served as Taipei mayor as well as president, he can learn many things from talking with him, Ko said.
Media reports of the visits as “drawing pro-independence figures to his side” or “starting a tactical voting campaign” were just creating conspiracies, he said.
Asked if Chen Shui-bian was upset about a remark Ko made in 2017 about Chen having faked his illness, Ko said no, adding that “[Chen] does not have to fake his illness, because he has become really ill.”
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