Ex-premier defends son in 'defeatist' row

TAIPEI - Former Premier Hau Pei-tsun defended his son, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday, criticising the Kuomintang's (KMT) accusations that the younger Hau adopted defeatism even before the year-end seven-in-one elections arrived.

In response to Hau's words, several KMT heavyweights criticised Hau for his apparent lack of faith in the party's prospect in the upcoming elections. Party spokesman Yang Wei-chung stated that despite the harsh challenges in store, the KMT is still confident and cannot be beaten by the "defeatism" of Hau. Mayor Hau suggested last week that if the KMT - of which he is a member - loses the year-end elections, President Ma Ying-jeou should step down as the party chairman.

While President Ma did not openly criticise the Taipei mayor's suggestion, he said last week that the Taiwanese government chiefs should express with discretion comments that "do not help build unity."

President Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yi and the elder Hau attended a Chinese New Year celebration event at the Armed Forces Officers Club yesterday, where Hau spent his time explaining his side of the story.

Taiwanese media reported that Ma made the unscripted comments in his address at the event on Taiwan's plan to phase out conscription and the nation's reform on its military trial system.

Former Premier Hau criticised both policies on Saturday.

"We are in a different era now, the form of war is also a different now," Ma said, explaining the need for shifts in military policies.

In addition, the elder Hau was reportedly furious at the implication that his son had hinted the KMT would undoubtedly suffer a defeat. "Everyone is stressed about the elections this year. If someone suggests that people should be cautious and work harder, how is this defeatism?" Hau demanded.

"Defeatism means surrender, which is what Wang Jingwei was responsible for. No person in Taiwan is like Wang. (My son) was only trying to encourage the party, those who had criticised him are ignorant and do not know what defeatism means," said Hau, referencing Wang Jingwei, the leader of the Japanese puppet government in China during World War II.

Mayor Hau noted that although he had not discussed the matter with his father, he was sure that they were on the same page regarding the defeatism issue.

Ma-Xi Meeting is Impossible: Hau

The elder Hau also lauded the positive nature of the meeting held between China's Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi, saying that the meeting was a good omen, but Taiwan and China still have a long way to go.

"It will be a long time until Ma meets Xi Jinping, president of the People's Republic of China. Even if they met now, the problems will not be solved immediately," said Hau.