TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The founder and current chairman of the People First Party (PFP), James Soong (宋楚瑜), is giving the fourth shot at Taiwan presidency with the same will and determination.
Soong, who was born to a Kuomintang (KMT) military family, studied diplomacy and political science in the U.S., and was elected governor of the Province of Taiwan before the provincial government was streamlined.
He was expelled from the KMT after he mounted his presidential bid as an independent in 2000 in move that accidentally propelled Chen Shui-bian to the presidency.
In what was largely viewed as the beginning of his return to the political stage, he was appointed special envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in 2016 and 2017 by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Those exchanges with Xi later became the center of his argument against a controversial Anti-Infiltration Law aimed at combating perceived threats from China. In a televised presidential debate three days before lawmakers were to vote on the bill, Soong said that he himself could be made a suspect due to his interactions with Xi.
He said that the bill could turn millions of Taiwanese people — whether they are doing business or studying in China, or religious groups and travel agents — into suspects. The law was passed 67 to zero on Dec. 31, 2019. Kuomintang lawmakers, which was the main opposition, did not partake in the vote.
Terry Gou (郭台銘), founder of the electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn who had previously teased a presidential run and had met with Donald Trump last May, urged his supporters in December to vote for Soong instead. Gou called Soong “a man that gets things done.”
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