Brief, awkward exchange highlights ongoing tension between Ma, Wang continues

The China Post staff

Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday had a brief but embarrassing conversation that underscored the tensions between the pair since the latter lost his bid to represent the main opposition party in next year’s presidential election.

Knowing the speaker would be leaving for an overseas trip today, Ma was curious about the destination of Wang’s trip when they met before the start of a symposium on agriculture in Tainan. “Where are you going for the overseas trip,” asked Ma.

“I’m going to …. a place,” Wang hesitated. “I won’t tell you.”

The unexpected answer left Ma smiling embarrassingly, not knowing how to respond. When the pair was later seated side by side during the event, they hardly spoke to each other. It is yet another episode that demonstrates the tensions between the pair since Ma defeated Wang to win the KMT presidential candidacy. Wang, who has rejected Ma’s invitation to be his running mate, has recently snubbed the candidate’s request to stay at the speaker’s home when he arrives in Kaohsiung for his “long stay” campaign gesture. Ma is making extended stays at destinations of his ongoing round-the-island tour designed to get deeper understanding of local needs. Despite Wang’s refusal, Ma reportedly is still trying to convince the speaker to let him stay at his home during his visit to Kaohsiung. Wang told the press yesterday that Ma had better stay at a farmer’s home in the countryside in order to get a real understanding of grassroots supporters. But the speaker said he would invite Ma to dinner at his home on Sept. 13 during his stay in Kaohsiung.