The Democratic Progressive Party headquarters yesterday turned down President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) invitation to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to meet at a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
DPP spokesman Tseng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said Tsai would not meet Ma for discussion in that context.
“The chairperson will not accept the invitation to attend the event,” Cheng said. “Ma has turned the memorial service into a promotional event for himself. It would be inappropriate for the chairperson to attend.”
Cheng made the comment yesterday afternoon, adding that Tsai would send a written reply to the president.
“We still believe that an open debate would be the best way to let the people know the direction of Taiwan’s future,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) delivered an invitation at Ma’s request to DPP Caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to give to Tsai.
The DPP, meanwhile, extended an invitation to Ma to attend tomorrow’s State Affairs Forum, co-sponsored by the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
Cheng said minority groups would participate at the forum, adding that Ma should take the opportunity to listen to the nation’s marginalized voices.
Talk about a meeting between Ma and Tsai has been in the air, but Ma and Tsai have not agreed on an agenda or the format of any discussion.
In related news, Cheng yesterday said Tsai would visit the US and Canada early next month to raise funds for the party’s candidates in the year-end city and county elections.
During the 10-day trip, Tsai will attend an executive committee meeting of Liberal International scheduled for May 1 to May 3 in Vancouver, Canada, to promote party diplomacy and enhance Taiwan’s international visibility, Cheng said.
Tsai will then head to the US to meet expatriates, though the details of her itinerary have not been finalized, he said.
DPP sources said Tsai would visit several US think tanks, such as the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation.
Tsai will also visit officials of the new US administration to explain the DPP’s goals and activities and discuss Taiwan’s political situation, the sources said.
The DPP chairperson also plans to visit Southeast Asian countries to meet overseas party members and expatriates there, the sources said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA