Remarks on disputed islands may cost ex-President Lee retirement benefits

Remarks on disputed islands may cost ex-President Lee retirement benefits
Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Lawmakers from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) vowed yesterday to amend laws to excise former R.O.C. President Lee Teng-hui's retirement payouts after comments he made in Japan concerning Taiwan's sovereignty claims to the Diaoyu Islands last week.

Lee, who used the Japanese term "Senkaku" throughout his visit, said the islands belonged to Japan. China, Taiwan and Japan and they all have overlapping sovereignty claims to the islands which are located in the East China Sea.

His comments drew ire from the KMT, including President Ma Ying-jeou, KMT Chairman Eric Chu and KMT 2016 presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu, all of whom reiterated the R.O.C.'s territorial claims of the islands. Legislator Lai Shyh-bao said that Lee did not deserve the close to NT$10 million (S$430,000) a year in retirement payouts from taxpayers if he used language that "humiliated the country."

"If he wants preferential treatment, he can get it from Japan," Lai added.

According to the Act Governing Preferential Treatment for Retired Presidents and Vice-Presidents, Lee is entitled to a retirement salary of NT$250,000 a month, as well as funding for security personnel and drivers.

The veteran lawmaker also rebuked Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman and presidential frontrunner Tsai Ing-wen for not immediately criticising Lee's comments. Lai said that Tsai could learn something from Hung, who condemned Lee's statements publically last week. He also called for voters to boycott any candidates of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in the upcoming election, and also to consider any political co-operation between the TSU and the DPP.

Lee Selling Out Taiwan: New Party

Meanwhile New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming filed a lawsuit against former President Lee for treason yesterday at the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office.

Yok harped on Lee for "selling out Taiwan and the R.O.C." He said that every citizen of the country has a duty to defend the country's territorial integrity. While demanding statements from presidential candidates Hung and Tsai on the matter, Yok also supported the excising of Lee's retirement funds.

The New Party chief also requested that the court obtain detailed information about the meeting between Lee and current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in order to prevent the erosion of Taiwan's claims to the Diaoyutai Islands.

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