Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Kaohsiung mayor and presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) vowed Saturday that China's "one country, two systems" formula for unification with Taiwan will never be put in place in Taiwan if he is president.
"'One country, two systems' can never be implemented in Taiwan. Taiwanese people can never accept it, unless, unless, unless it's over my dead body," Han told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Douliu in Yunlin County, saying "over my dead body" in English.
At the rally, Han of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) led the crowd in chanting "reject 'one country, two systems'" and asked his supporters to have faith in him.
Large-scale rally held to support Han's bid to win the KMT presidential primary in Yunlin County
"If I am given the opportunity to lead the Republic of China and become the president of the Republic of China, I promise that 'one country, two systems' will never be carried out on the land of Taiwan," Han said.
It was Han's most forceful public rejection of Beijing's "one country, two systems" formula. The mayor has been criticized by his opponents for what they perceive as his overly pro-China stance and reluctance to criticize Beijing.
Han visited Beijing's liaison offices in Hong Kong and Macau in March while signing trade deals in these two places, leading ruling Democratic Progressive Party and other politicians to paint him as supporting the "one country, two systems" concept.
The Kaohsiung mayor rejected that characterization at Saturday's rally.
"When have I ever said I would accept the 'one country, two systems' formula? It is impossible for the Taiwanese people to accept the 'one country, two systems' model used in Hong Kong and Macau. Absolutely impossible," he said.
Organizers estimated that over 120,000 people attended the rally on Saturday, while Yunlin police did not give an estimate.
It was the third large-scale rally held to support Han's bid to win the KMT presidential primary, following one in Taipei on June 1 and another in eastern Taiwan's Hualien on June 8.
Han is one of five candidates who are expected to participate in the KMT's presidential primary.
The KMT plans to select its 2020 presidential candidate based on the results of public opinion polls, which will be conducted by five polling firms between July 8 and July 14. The results of the polls will be announced on July 15.