Cablegate: Southern Taiwan's Tainan County Agricultural

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

180847Z Nov 05





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Southern Taiwan's Tainan County Agricultural
Associations Extend Support to Incumbent DPP Magistrate



1. (SBU) Summary. At a recent press conference, executives
of Tainan County's farmers' and fishermen associations and
the County's thirty-one lower level farmers' associations
expressed public support for DPP Tainan County Magistrate Su
Huan-chih's re-election bid. The County's grass root
agricultural associations, the executives of some of which
are incumbent KMT party representatives, traditionally have
favored KMT candidates in previous political campaigns. The
executives claimed that they shifted their support to
Magistrate Su to express appreciation for Su's efforts in
seeking financial aid for the county's agricultural
associations. A few maintained that their endorsement of
Magistrate Su was pro-forma, only to ensure further
subsidies. End Summary.

2. (U) Thirty-three key executives of Tainan County's
farmers' and fishermen associations expressed their support
for the incumbent DPP Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-
chih's reelection bid at a press conference held at Su's
campaign office on November 9. One of Su's office staff
admitted that the press conference was arranged by Su's
campaign office and they were happy to have the
participation of all the associations' key representatives.
Traditionally, Taiwan's grass root farmers' and fishermen's
associations were a stronghold of the KMT and the majority
of the associations' high ranking executives are long-term
KMT members.

3. (SBU) Guantien Town Agricultural Association Secretary
General, Lin Cheng-jong, who is a senior party
representative in the KMT Tainan County Office confirmed
that Magistrate Su has been working hard to assist the
county's several agricultural associations to resist being
merged by the government-run Cooperative Bank, a plan
initiated by Ministry of Finance in an attempt to help bail
out debt-ridden grass roots credit businesses. Lin went on
to say that Su has also assisted the associations to obtain
agricultural funding from the central authorities when their
businesses met difficulties. Secretary Chang Ping-shan of
Yujing Town Agricultural Association said their group's
endorsement was because Magistrate Su does not oppose
selling the area's mangoes to mainland China despite the
lack of a clear central trade policy toward China.

4. (SBU) However, Lin complained that Magistrate Su has
wasted too many resources on large scale national level
projects and failed to work out practical solutions to
settle difficulties the area's farmers have suffered. Lin
noted that area farmers have criticized Su's promotion of
plans to build a national airport in Chiku Town and his
implementation of a candy festival, which when held last
year generated no real benefit to farmers. Lin went on to
say that Mark Chen, Su's predecessor, performed much better
in upgrading the County's agricultural environment during
his eight-year magistracy. Nevertheless, Lin said their
membership still believes that Magistrate Su can do the best
job at present, especially since his KMT opponent is less
experienced in agricultural issues.

5. (SBU) Secretary Chang told AIT/K that the participation
of his Secretary General Huang Cheng-ching and himself in
the press conference was more pro-forma and less real
support (i.e., their endorsement was purposely to ensure
further subsidies). Chang said they also showed up at the
opening activity of the campaign office of KMT's candidate,
Kuo Tien-tsai, and many of the area's association executives
did the same thing. In fact, one KMT staff member in Tainan
County said that several Associations' representatives had
informed the KMT office of their participation and had
promised nevertheless to vote for KMT candidates. While
that staff member admitted that the endorsement may generate
certain influences on the campaign, the are working to
minimize the impact on KMT candidates.



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