Legislator Chiang Chi-chen registers for KMT chairmanship election

02/03/2020 07:31 PM
KMT Legislator Chiang Chi-chen
KMT Legislator Chiang Chi-chen

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) Legislator Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) became the first candidate to officially register to compete in the upcoming election for Kuomintang (KMT) party chairman Monday, and shared in interviews his plans on reform, as well as Taiwan's relations with China and the U.S.

Chiang submitted 34,782 signatures from registered, fully paid-up KMT party members, far above the 7,751 needed to qualify as a candidate.

The KMT is holding an election on March 7, after former Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) resigned following the party's resounding defeat in the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.

Candidates can register from Feb. 3-4, according to the KMT.

Prior to registering, Chiang discussed his views on reforming the KMT and recalibrating the party's cross-strait narrative in an interview on Pop Radio Monday.

The KMT must undertake significant reform and face these changes bravely, Chiang said.

Regarding the KMT's leadership structure, Chiang proposed the creation of an 11-member "decision-making platform" to decide major issues.

Members would include the newly-elected Chairman, the party's legislative caucus whip, KMT secretary-general, local mayors and magistrates, as well as other party members and think tank researchers, Chiang said.

The platform should be able to react quickly to changes in public opinion and solve problems efficiently, he said, adding that its creation would ensure more opinions are taken into account when making key decisions.

When asked why he wasn't using the party's Central Standing Committee (CSC), its current decision-making body, as the platform, Chiang said the party is still discussing how to reform the CSC.

It will also be difficult to cut the committee, which can comprise 39-44 members, to 11 people, Chiang said.

On KMT cross-strait policy, Chiang said whether the party continues to use the 1992 consensus, a tacit understanding reached that year between the then KMT government and Chinese government, is under discussion.

The consensus has been consistently interpreted by the KMT as both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledging there is only "one China" with each free to interpret what "China" means.

However, Beijing has never publicly recognized the second part of the KMT interpretation.

"Cross-strait issues are completely different in 2020 than in the 1990s," Chiang said, and stressed that regardless of what the party decides, ensuring Taiwan's freedom and democracy is most important.

In a separate interview Monday with CNA, Chiang said that as Chairman, he will work to strengthen the KMT's relationship with the U.S.

This will be accomplished by establishing communication channels with the U.S. through which the party can express its views, and arranging routine visits by high ranking officials to the U.S. Congress, think tanks and administrative agencies, Chiang said.

"A balanced relationship between the U.S., China and Taiwan is in the best interest of the Republic of China," he said.

In previous interviews, Chiang has said the KMT "lost contact" with the U.S. over the past four years, which contributed to the party's pro-Beijing image.

(By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Chiang Yi-ching)

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