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Wu Den-yih announces bid for KMT chair (update)

2017/01/09 15:01:25

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Monday officially announced his decision to run for the chairmanship of the opposition Kuomintang.

Wu, 68, is the third politician to enter the race after KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and incumbent chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).

The election is slated for May 20.

During the press conference to announce his decision, Wu spoke of his close ties with the KMT, including being chosen by late President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) to run for a seat on Taipei City Council in 1973.

Victory in that election officially launched his political career, Wu said, recounting that he served as a Taipei city councilor, Nantou county magistrate, Kaohsiung mayor and lawmaker before being appointed KMT secretary general in 2007.

After KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won the presidential election in 2008, Wu was picked the next year to serve as premier. In 2012, he became Ma's running mate, helping him secure a second term as president. Wu served as vice president until May 2016.

That year the KMT lost both presidential and legislative elections, as well as the legislative majority it held for more than six decades.

"We can return to power if we promote reforms with great zeal, work with friendly parties and reorganize the party," Wu said at Monday's press conference.

"To be in power is the primary goal of any political party," Wu stressed, outlining his vision for a KMT victory in the next presidential election in 2020.

When the KMT returns to power, Wu said he hopes to establish a politically clean and efficient government and legislature, a just and harmonious society and peaceful cross-strait relations.

Discussing cross-strait ties, Wu reiterated the importance of the "1992 consensus, with each side free to interpret what 'one China' is."

"I believe the Chinese side will be much happier when it sees the words 'one China,' and we will feel much safer when we see 'each free to interpret'," Wu said.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a KMT government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to office in May 2016, relations between the two sides have cooled, mainly because she has refused to heed Beijing's calls to accept the "1992 consensus" as the political foundation for cross-strait exchange.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)
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