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Opposition raises concerns over Lai's cross-strait stance

05/20/2024 11:00 PM
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CNA photo May 20, 2024
CNA photo May 20, 2024

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) raised concerns over President Lai Ching-te's (賴清德) inaugural address on Monday, saying that his "two country doctrine" and ideology could further stall cross-strait relations.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said that Lai's address placed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) political ideology and interests above the national interest.

In his inaugural address, Lai stated that the Republic of China (ROC) -- Taiwan's official name -- and the People's Republic of China (PRC) are not subordinate to each other. He also said the ROC, ROC Taiwan, and Taiwan are all "names we ourselves or our international friends choose to call our nation."

In response, Chu expressed concerns that Lai "made the 'two-country doctrine' conspicuous," which Chu described as different from former President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) emphasis on the ROC Constitution and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

KMT caucus whip Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) called on Lai not to rock the cross-strait status-quo boat or force the people into crisis with his political ideology.

Meanwhile, former President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) foundation also issued a press release claiming Lai's inauguration speech violated the ROC Constitution by declaring the PRC to be another country.

Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑), director of the foundation, said in the statement that by claiming the ROC and the PRC "are not subordinate to each other," Lai violated the ROC Constitution which states that both the "Mainland area" and the "Taiwan area" belong to the ROC rather than two different countries.

Hsiao also called the statement which hinted at Taiwan being an alternative name of the country "unconstitutional."

KMT heavyweights also took particular note of Lai's call for procedural justice in the Legislative Yuan.

Lai in the address stressed the importance of the legislature observing procedural justice-- "the majority should respect the minority, while the minority accepts majority rule."

Lai's remarks about the Legislative Yuan came days after the latter witnessed a day of physical scuffles and verbal fighting over several controversial bills on "parliamentary reforms".

Chu, who did not attend the inaugural ceremony Monday, said the KMT stands firm with public opinion and the DPP, now a minority in the legislature, should adhere to democratic procedure and allow the bills that represent the will of the majority to pass.

Resorting to violence is not observing procedural justice, nor is it following the principle of majority rule, which are what Lai called for in his speech, Fu said.

In his comment on Lai's address, Taiwan People's Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) likewise called on the ruling party not to obstruct the legislative reform bills, which Ko said the DPP previously called for.

On cross-strait relations, Ko said he believes Lai will continue to abide by the ROC Constitution.

"But it is more important to see [Lai's] actions over the next three months," Ko said.

Meanwhile, DPP caucus whip Wu Szu-yao (吳思瑤) said that Lai demonstrated Taiwan's strong democratic foundation in his statement about cross-strait relations, in which he presented an open attitude to possible cooperation between Taiwan and China based on the shared goal of mutual interest and prosperity.

Monday's inauguration was attended by the mayors of five of the six municipalities from Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, with only New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) missing the event.

The mayors of Kaohsiung and Tainan are from the same party as Lai, while the four others belong to the KMT, with Hou being the presidential candidate on the KMT's ticket who ran against Lai.

Hsieh Yi-fong (謝衣鳳), a KMT lawmaker from Changhua County, was the only KMT lawmaker to make an appearance, to which her colleague KMT Legislator Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) said she was surprised and "felt a bit betrayed."

KMT Legislator Huang Chien-hao (黃健豪) said the party caucus had advised lawmakers not to attend the inauguration ceremony, but it was only advisory in nature.

Hsieh, who is also the KMT's deputy secretary-general, said she attended the event in her capacity as a legislator and hopes negotiations can be held on the controversial bills, with the ruling and opposition parties refraining from falling into an antagonistic relationship.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Wang Cheng-chung, Wu Shu-wei, Fan Cheng-hsiang, Lin Ching-yin and Alison Hsiao)


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