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September 20, 2017

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Independence heavyweights decline policy adviser roles

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Two pro-Taiwan independence heavyweights on Monday officially declined a nomination by President Tsai Ing-wen to serve as senior presidential policy advisers.

Peng Ming-min (彭明敏) and Kao Chun-ming (高俊明) were among a list of nominees for the advisery positions announced by the Presidential Office on Nov. 14.

Peng and Kao previously served as senior presidential policy advisers under the administration of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Chen Shui-bian's administration.

In a written statement, Peng said before the Presidential Office publicized the list of nominees for the advisers role, he had already turned down the offer, citing old age and poor health. Nevertheless, Peng said, his name remained on the list when it was announced.

The Presidential Office promised to abide by his request and remove his name from the list, but two weeks later nothing had been done, forcing Peng to issue an official statement on Monday.

In response, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang on Monday extended his apologies to Peng, saying President Tsai understood and respected Peng's decision, and thanked Peng for his contributions to promoting democracy in Taiwan.

Strong Opponent of

Gay Marriage

Meanwhile, Kao Chun-ming, a veteran pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, also declined Tsai's offer.

His refusal was due to concerns over rising confrontations between supporters and opponents of gay marriage, according to Kao's wife.

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