Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) yesterday exchanged views on cross-strait peace at a religious festival in Kinmen County in their first joint public appearance.
Lai, the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, and Gou, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hopeful, traveled to Kinmen to attend the Cheng Huang Festival, the county’s largest religious event.
It was Gou’s first major public appearance since losing the KMT’s nomination for presidential candidate to New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), who did not attend the event.
Lai praised the festival, now in its 343rd year and featuring the world’s longest “centipede seat” (蜈蚣座), a type of palanquin on which children dressed as Taoist deities are carried.
The event allows not only Taiwan to see Kinmen, but for the world to see Taiwan, he said outside the Wudao Cheng Huang Temple in Jincheng Township (金城).
He also thanked the county’s military personnel for being the nation’s front line of defense.
Photo: Wu Cheng-Ting, Taipei Times
Gou and Lai met outside the temple, where they shook hands surrounded by reporters.
Saying he had a “small suggestion,” Gou handed Lai a folder with a proposal for a “Kinmen peace declaration.”
The men then spoke for nearly two minutes before taking questions from reporters.
Lai said he is a “pacifist and a vanguard for democracy” who knows that peace is priceless and there are never winners in war.
However, “peace is not something you can choose,” he said.
“If you want to pursue peace, you must pursue ‘real peace,’” meaning the strength and resolve to defend oneself, Lai said.
Gou said that although he agrees that “peace must be won,” he urged Lai to carefully consider his declaration.
If the two sides of the Taiwan Strait do not communicate and Kinmen is not treated as a bridge between them, then “peace will never be possible,” Gou said.
Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) also visited Kinmen to participate in the festival, arriving after Gou and Lai.
Ko and Gou posed for a photograph together at the temple before meeting again later in the afternoon. The two also joined in carrying the “centipede seat.”
After Gou lost the KMT nomination, there have been rumors whether he would be Ko’s running mate on the TPP ticket.
KMT Kinmen County Council Speaker Hung Yun-tien (洪允典) yesterday said he supported the idea, adding that they were the “best pairing.”
KMT Legislator Jessica Chen (陳玉珍), who represents Kinmen, said she was “thrilled” to see the presidential hopefuls showing such concern for the county.
Asked whether she would push for a Ko-Gou ticket, Chen said that she has heard a lot of support for the idea, but it depends on whether they are willing.
Former TPP legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) in February said the party would welcome Gou and treat him well if he decided to join.
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