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Lien complains that his rival Ko's campaign staff engages in smear tactics

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) yesterday accused his rival's campaign staff of engaging in smear tactics.

Lien said that Pan Chien-chih (潘建志), spokesman for Ko's campaign, had been spreading disinformation about his meeting with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) in 2013.

Pan's remarks are proof that Ko's campaign is engaging in smear tactics, Lien added.

Citing news footage, Pan recently claimed that Lien told Xi he was preparing to run in the mayoral election. Lien denied the claim, saying archival footage shows that his conversation with Xi lasted only a few seconds, and that Xi had simply asked him how tall he was. Lien explained that afterward, they shook hands, had their photograph taken and then the meeting ended.

Although Ko appears to maintain an affable image, he is permitting his staff to engage in smear tactics, Lien said.

In response, Yao Li-ming (姚立明), head of Ko's campaign, expressed “disappointment,” saying that Lien's comments were ill-spoken, considering that Ko had treated Lien after he was shot in the face.

Yao urged the KMT candidate to retract his claims.

According to Yao, a news report indicates that Xi had asked Lien if he was planning to run in the Taipei mayoral election, and that Lien's father, former Vice President Lien Chan (連戰), replied, “Yes.”

The Lien family didn't refute this report when it came out, which means that Pan was largely correct, Yao said.

Ko's campaign does not expect an apology, but it would like Lien to retract his statements, Yao added.

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