Newspaper article China Post

An Old Dog Gets One Last Day in the Sun

Newspaper article China Post

An Old Dog Gets One Last Day in the Sun

Article excerpt

James Soong, chairman of the People First Party, is all set to go to Lima, Peru for the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which is scheduled to open on Saturday. President Tsai Ing-wen, who was barred from attending the meeting, gave the old dog of politics his last day in the sun.

Of course, Soong, now 74, doesn't acknowledge he is considered a turncoat in Beijing and is more than self-assuredly confident that he can perform the job Tsai granted him. She summoned him to her office last Friday with instruction to bring back to Taiwan new chances for its economic development, watch out for economic integration in Asia and the Pacific, and talk with APEC leaders in the summit to let them understand the role of "creator," "sharer" as well as "service provider" Taiwan plays in the area.

In a press conference right after meeting President Tsai, Soong said that during any encounters with Xi Jinping, general-secretary of the Communist Party of China (CCP), or other leaders in Lima, he would certainly "interact naturally."

However, he added, the job he was given was to exchange opinions with them on Taiwan's "economic problems" alone.

"I was neither authorized, nor tasked with, holding talks on any negotiation on relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait," he stressed.

"President Tsai named me to attend the APEC meeting to show the world that in Taiwan, democracy has developed to such an extent that political parties and politicians can forget about their feud to work together for Taiwan's economic development," said Soong, who after serving as secretary-general of the Kuomintang and governor of Taiwan province, turned against his benefactor President Lee Teng-hui to run for president against Lee's heir Lien Chan in 2000 to help Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party win.

He then formed his own party, and deigned to accept a place on Lien Chan's Kuomintang presidential ticket four years later. Chen won reelection in 2004, thanks to the two bullets that he said were fired against him in a rumored Chinese-machinated "assassination" attempt on the eve of Election Day. …

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