Tue, Sep 13, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Tsai embarks on US trip

RIVAL ITINERARIES:The DPP chairperson said Ma should remember that it is he who is running in the presidential election, not his campaign office director, King Pu-tsung

By Rich Chang and William Lowther  /  Staff Reporters in Washington and TAIPEI

When these KMT supporters heard that Tsai was going to visit the US, they wanted Ma to send a delegation as well so that they could express their support.

“We are here in response to the requests of people who live here,” King said.

King said there was no question of a competition with Tsai to see who could meet the more senior US officials. The KMT delegation just wanted to meet officials in charge of Asian affairs to explain Ma’s cross-strait policies and his push for a “win-win situation,” King said.

The KMT delegation arrived in Washington three days ahead of Tsai and will visit the same cities on her itinerary: Washington, New York, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. While the schedules are very similar, these cities do have large Taiwanese emigre populations.

At Harvard on Thursday, King and Tsai will appear within two hours of each other. Both are expected to hold talks with Nides and Campbell.

“We want to tell our American friends that the policies of President Ma are more pragmatic than those of the DPP,” King said.

“We are moving toward a better future. The Ma government has spared no effort to improve all the domestic and economic situations and cross-strait relations,” he said.

Tseng played down the controversy over US beef imports and indicated that it would not be a major issue in the KMT delegation’s talks in Washington.

When asked if Ma would visit China if he were reelected, King said as long as Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity were not undermined, anything “might be possible or be discussed.”

He said that he had been quoted “out of context” in reports that Ma would make such a visit and he refused to confirm whether Ma would go or not.

Another war of words between the DPP and KMT erupted yesterday over reports that Taiwanese businesspeople working in China might receive discounted air tickets to return home to vote in January’s presidential and legislative elections.

Before leaving Taipei, Tsai said determining the motivation for the discounted fares was crucial. If someone were subsidizing the discounts, then vote buying could be involved and law enforcement officials should handle the matter, she said.

However, KMT Culture and Communication Commission Director Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲) said the discount airfare scheme was being promoted by China-based Taiwanese business associations of their own accord.

“It has been routine for many years for the associations to take the initiatives to negotiate package deals for cheaper airline tickets,” he said.

It was beneath Tsai’s dignity to make groundless vote-buying accusations against Ma and made her look like she lacked common sense, Chuang said.

Not all businesspeople based in China would vote for the KMT, Chuang said.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan, AFP and CNA

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