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September 25, 2017

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New premier, DPP chairman are talking

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang made a friendly overture to the ruling administration yesterday, returning a telephone call from the new premier.

Yesterday morning Su chose to personally return a missed call from the Executive Yuan, according to DPP's Taipei headquarters.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) paused a meeting to take the call and the two spoke for 15 minutes, said Executive Yuan spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文).

To Jiang, Su conveyed the DPP's high hopes for the Cabinet agenda, according to Cheng.

In turn, Jiang said there is a communication rift between their two parties which has affected the promotion of major bills and policies. Taiwan's democratic culture should place more emphasis on rational dialogue, said the spokeswoman.

Su and Jiang also discussed a possible in-person meeting. Earlier this week, the new premier said he hopes to call on opposition party leaders to discuss the new legislative session.

Over the phone on Wednesday, Su advised the premier to visit the DPP's legislative caucus first, as the Executive Yuan is accountable to the Legislative Yuan under the Republic of China Constitution. A "Jiang-Su" meet can wait until later, Su said.

Premier's Response

The premier appreciated Su's call and believes it could be a start to renewed communication between the two parties, according to the Executive Yuan spokeswoman.

Out of courtesy, the premier had planned to pay a personal call to Su first and the DPP caucus second. But since Su has suggested the reverse, Jiang will contact the caucus as soon as possible. He will remain in touch with Su and arrange for a meeting that respects each other's time and preferences, said the spokeswoman.

Jiang felt that Su was sincere and spoke "in good faith" during the conversation, she said.

DPP Response

The DPP headquarters lauded Jiang for his willingness to engage the opposition party in dialogue.

"Jiang displays a manner that is unlike that of his predecessor," said DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲).

But Lin echoed the chairman, saying that Jiang should visit the DPP caucus first. The premier should also spend time with his own party caucus to achieve a Kuomintang consensus on issues like media monopolization and the fate of Nuclear Power Plant No. 4, he said.

Meanwhile, DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤) criticized Su for responding positively to a sit-down with Jiang, while flatly declining a "Ma-Su" meet.

"I really don't understand you!" posted Hung on Facebook.

In theory, Taiwan is premier-led, but practice has leaned toward handing the president the reins. As a result, only a "Ma-Su" meet has real meaning, according to Hung.

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