Newspaper article China Post

Chu Playing China Card to Boost KMT Campaign

Newspaper article China Post

Chu Playing China Card to Boost KMT Campaign

Article excerpt

Few would have believed that New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu really meant what he said when he repeatedly stressed that he would not run for president next year. But some of the latest developments have shown that he is determined to honor his promise to the voters who elected him to the mayoral post last November in that he will complete his four-year term.

The most telling development is his scheduled meeting with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping in Beijing next week in their capacities as the heads of their respective nationalist and communist parties.

Such a meeting would only undermine the presidential bid of any candidate from the pro-China unification Kuomintang, for it would look as though he or she was looking for the Chinese leader's blessing and approval.

A meeting between Xi and the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party's candidate Tsai Ing-wen in the run-up to the presidential poll would be seen differently - if such a thing could happen at all.

The sensitivity of the upcoming Chu-Xi meet will almost certainly prevent the New Taipei mayor from running for president this term, unless he really lacks the political wisdom to see the implications and possible damage.

Chu has overwhelming backing from KMT supporters who have looked up to him as the best candidate in a bid to keep the presidency for the ruling party after its crushing defeat in the local elections in November.

But it may not be difficult to see why he is resisting the temptation: he has promises to keep for his New Taipei job; and the party would risk losing both New Taipei and the presidency if he ran and lost, for he would be forced to give up his mayoral post to show his commitment to the presidential campaign.

Instead, Chu is giving himself a crucial role of another type - a kingmaker. As chairman of the KMT, he is clearly eager to set the agenda for the presidential race, as well as the legislative elections, both of which are taking place early next year. …

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