Date
20 September 2017
Eric Chu will have to rebuild the image of the ruling party among Taiwanese, who are suspicious of its pro-Beijing stance. Photo: Reuters
Eric Chu will have to rebuild the image of the ruling party among Taiwanese, who are suspicious of its pro-Beijing stance. Photo: Reuters

Xi Jinping congratulates new Kuomintang chairman

President Xi Jinping welcomed the election Saturday of Eric Chu Li-luan as chairman of Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang party, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It quoted Xi as saying he hoped Taiwan-mainland relations would continue to move forward.

Business ties across the Taiwan Strait have increased since Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou took power as Taiwan’s president in 2008.

Beijing would rather have the Kuomintang ruling the island than the pro-independence opposition party.

Xinhua quoted Chu as saying he looked forward to creating a favorable climate for the future development of cross-strait relations.

Chu, the only candidate, won almost all the 196,830 votes cast in the chairmanship vote, the Kuomintang said in a statement.

He inherits an unpopular party seen as favoring big business and the mainland at a time of growing scepticism about ties with Beijing, Reuters said in a report.

Chu will have to win back domestic support but also avoid alarming Beijing’s leaders and damage burgeoning commercial ties, it said. He needs to improve the Kuomintang’s image and convince young and middle-class voters in Taiwan that cross-strait ties do not just benefit the wealthy.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party urged Chu in a statement to push for reform of his party.

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CG/FL

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