Premier Lai, KMT chair interact warmly at Double Ten celebration

2017/10/10 13:51:52 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Lai Ching-te (賴清德, right) and Wu Den-yih (吳敦義)

Lai Ching-te (賴清德, right) and Wu Den-yih (吳敦義)

Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) interacted with each other warmly at the National Day ceremony on Tuesday.

Lai and Wu, who was vice president from 2012 to 2016 during the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration, sat side by side, talking with each other from time to time, showing rare harmony between members of the two parties that are often at loggerheads with each other.

Before entering the seating area of the ceremony, held in front of the Presidential Office, the two were spotted in conversation, and then Lai held Wu's hand as they walked to their seats.

The pro-independence DPP and the China-friendly KMT have a highly adversarial relationship, and the interaction between Lai and Wu was perceived as temporarily easing internal political tensions on a day when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) preached leaving behind political differences.

It was the first time for Lai, who was sworn in last month to succeed Lin Chuan (林全), to attend a National Day celebration and sing the national anthem in his capacity as premier.

While Lai said in his first policy report to the Legislative Yuan on Sept. 26 that his status as a "pro-Taiwan independence politician" will remain unchanged, he emphasized he was pragmatic and said it was not a problem for him to sing the national anthem or hold the national flag at the National Day celebration.

Many independence advocates see the country's official flag and anthem as outdated, originating when the Republic of China was still based in mainland China, and as symbols of the KMT, and refuse to honor either of them.

In addition to Lai and Wu, many political heavyweights such as Ma, People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), New Power Party Chairperson Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), Minkuotang Chairperson Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) were also among the guests at the celebration.

(By Ku Chuan, Lu Hsin-hui, Liu Li-jung and Frances Huang)
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