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KMT's Hou-Jaw ticket calls election a choice between war and peace

11/26/2023 12:15 PM
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New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (in blue kacket) and his running mate Jaw Shau-kong (center right) are joined by Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (second left) and KMT legislative candidate Lee Yen-hsiu (in yellow jacket). CNA photo Nov. 26, 2023
New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (in blue kacket) and his running mate Jaw Shau-kong (center right) are joined by Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (second left) and KMT legislative candidate Lee Yen-hsiu (in yellow jacket). CNA photo Nov. 26, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 26 (CNA) The newly formed opposition Kuomintang (KMT) presidential ticket on Saturday reiterated the party's long-held warning to voters that voting for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) candidates or for the KMT in next year's presidential race is a choice between war or peace.

Sticking to the same rhetoric during three presidential campaign rallies held in Taoyuan, Taichung and New Taipei cities on Saturday, Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) and his running mate, Jaw Shau-kong (趙少康) said if the DPP's presidential candidate and sitting Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) wins the Jan. 13 elections, it would likely lead to war with China.

"Our whole generation will surely lose everything we have fought for during our lifetime [if Lai wins the presidency]," Hou told supporters during the three events.

"That is why I decided to join the presidential race. My main goal is to protect Taiwan with my life, and to ensure cross-strait peace," the New Taipei mayor added.

➤ War with China never an option: Taiwan's ruling party VP candidate

Jaw, meanwhile, said the KMT's slogan in the 2022 year-end local elections that "vote for DPP, youths go to war" was apparently working. The party won 14 among 22 mayoral or magisterial seats in the nine-in-one elections and the ruling DPP won only five.

"Next year's elections are a choice between war and peace, if people want peace, prosperity, a corruption-free government and cross-strait stability, then vote for the KMT," Jaw said.

Lai is known for his support for Taiwan independence and for once calling himself a "practical worker for Taiwan independence."

However, public opinion polls conducted by the government's Mainland Affairs Council have consistently shown over the years that a vast majority of Taiwanese people do not favor unification or formal independence, and instead want to maintain the status quo.

In interviews with local and international media earlier this year, Lai changed his stance by saying that Taiwan is already a "sovereign, independent country," under its official name the Republic of China, adding that he had no plans to pursue formal independence.

Lai has also said he will do his best to maintain cross-strait peace while upholding Taiwan's sovereignty.

It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to convince voters.

Hou officially announced his running mate as Jaw, chairman of Taiwan's Broadcasting Corporation of China and veteran political talk show host, with both officially registering their candidacy for the 2024 election on Friday, after the KMT's original plan to form a joint presidential ticket with the opposition Taiwan People's Party's chair and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) fell apart.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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