Lin plays loyalty card as President balances power

HEAVYWEIGHT Taiwanese politician Lin Yang-kang denied that he would make use of his newly acquired position of KMT vice-chairman to promote his chances of seeking the Taiwan presidency in 1996.

Mr Lin, together with the three other new KMT vice-chairman, Li Yuan-zu, Hau Pei-tsun and Lien Chan, pledged to work together to help Taiwan President and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui.

Mr Lin, 66, who is president of the Judicial Yuan, is the only politician deemed to have enough calibre to seek the presidency should Mr Lee keep to his promise of not seeking a second term.

He said yesterday he had already indicated he would ''seriously consider'' campaigning for president since Mr Lee announced his decision not to run in 1996.

''However, this does not mean I have already declared my bid for presidency,'' Mr Lin said.

''The duty of the vice-chairman of the KMT is to take away some of the burden - but not the power - of the party chairman.

''If I were to make use of my new position to boost and consolidate my own influence, I would be unfaithful to the party.'' He said there was no question of storms in the working relationship of the four vice-chairmen.

Former premier Mr Hau, 74, denied yesterday that there were factional struggles.

He was asked if he would fight to safeguard the interests of mainlanders within the party.

''The KMT is a party that tolerates multi-dimensional viewpoints among its members,'' said the putative head of the non-mainstream faction.

He yesterday reiterated the classic non-mainstream faction position that Taiwan must not be cut off from the mainland.

''Economic and political developments in Taiwan are being pursued with a view to unification by setting an example for all of China,'' he said.

Taiwan analysts said members of Mr Hau's faction had indirectly attacked President Lee for promoting de facto Taiwanese independence.

All four vice-chairmen yesterday denied widespread speculation that their new positions would be honorary rather than substantial.

''Our division of labour has yet to be worked out,'' said Li Yuan-zu, the vice-president and Lee loyalist who is widely regarded as First Vice-Chairman.

''We will help the chairman in promoting unity and reform of the party,'' he said.

Vice-President Lee maintained that Chairman Lee's decision to nominate four vice-chairmen followed a Congress decision.

Until Monday, the KMT leadership maintained there would be only three vice-chairmen.

Chairman Lee's decision to appoint four deputies was widely seen yesterday as a bid to balance power, with Mr Hau and Mr Lin pitted against Mr Lee and Mr Lien, the premier who is also a Lee protege.

''For policy and practical matters, only one vice-chairman is necessary,'' said senior KMT politician Gao Yu-jen yesterday.

''More vice-chairmen need to be appointed in the interests of maintaining political balance.'' Taiwan sources said President Lee had thought of not nominating Mr Lin as vice-chairman because he would be likely to renege on his announcement not to run for president again.