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TPP's Ko asks Lai to clarify Taiwan independence stance

12/13/2023 10:10 PM
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Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (center left) chants slogans with supporters after he draws the ballot number "1" at the Central Election Commission in Taipei Monday. CNA photo Dec. 11, 2023
Taiwan People's Party presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (center left) chants slogans with supporters after he draws the ballot number "1" at the Central Election Commission in Taipei Monday. CNA photo Dec. 11, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 13 (CNA) Taiwan People's Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday called on Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) to clarify his stance on Taiwan independence, which Ko said had left many confused.

On an online program that aired Wednesday, Ko was asked by host Huang Kuang-chin (黃光芹) to comment on his recent remark that Lai, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, had gone from a "princeling" thriving on support for Taiwan independence to a timid "weakling."

The United States has openly stated its opposition to Taiwan making any moves toward independence, and Lai should openly say whether he intends to pursue the cause he has long championed, Ko said on his online show on Dec. 8.

The former Taipei mayor repeated that narrative on Huang's show.

"[Former DPP chairperson and pro-democracy movement activist] Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介) said pushing for Taiwan independence is something you do, not something you speak of, but Lai has neither done nor spoken of it," Ko said.

Lai has declined media requests to reply to Ko's criticism, saying that he would not respond to "personal attacks."

Ko said it was fine that Lai did not want to respond to him, but that he must respond to people's questions.

As he saw it, Ko said, faced with pressure from the U.S. and China, maintaining the "status quo" when it came to cross-strait relations was a Hobson's choice.

Lai might as well be honest and say Taiwan independence is "not viable for the time being," Ko said.

'Original sin'?

Huang Kuang-chin also asked Ko to comment on a recent spat between Ko and Kuomintang (KMT) vice presidential candidate Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), who asked Ko to refrain from making "meaningless" allegations designed to portray the KMT as an ally of China.

Ko had accused the KMT of "rapidly aligning itself with China" following its nomination of presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) and Jaw.

The TPP chairman argued on Wednesday that being perceived as pro-China was the KMT's "original sin." Kuomintang translates to the "Chinese Nationalist Party," and its reluctance to remove the "Chinese" in its name despite having been repeatedly challenged to do so shows that it carries heavy baggage, Ko said.


Asked by Huang Kuang-chin to clarify his controversial remark during a recent TV interview that he was "deep-green at heart" -- a narrative Huang Kuang-chin said was likely a "campaign tactic" -- Ko said the fact that his grandfather Ko Shih-yuan (柯世元) was a victim of the 228 Incident explains why he "started out as green," meaning he supported the DPP or its values.

"Am I supposed to deny my own history?" Ko asked.

The 228 Incident refers to a brutal crackdown on protesters by the then-KMT administration in 1947 that stemmed from a government investigator's inappropriate handling of an unlicensed tobacco vendor. There is a great discrepancy in the estimated death toll of the incident, ranging from 1,000 people to more than 20,000.

Following Tsai's diplomatic policy

Asked to clarify his recent remark that he would follow President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) foreign affairs policy, Ko said he learned from his visit to the U.S. in April that the country "thinks highly of Tsai's performance."

According to Ko, he assured officials he met in the U.S. that if elected he would handle Taiwan-U.S. relations on the existing framework and predicted that there would be no change to the relationship no matter who wins the presidential election.

"It's Tsai's cross-strait and internal policies we oppose. We support Tsai's foreign affairs policy," Ko said.

(By Sean Lin)


Source: Pin View Media
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