The US reassured the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of its neutrality in January’s presidential election with an unusual diplomatic gesture yesterday, former representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) sent an unprecedented five officials, including AIT Director William Stanton, to the DPP’s 25th anniversary reception, Wu told reporters on the sidelines of the celebration at the W Hotel in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義).
The move represented the US’ respect for the DPP, Wu said, adding that he had never seen more than two US officials at similar events.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
It appeared as though the US was trying to “balance out” the negative impact caused by a Sept. 15 article by London’s Financial Times which was seen as an attempt to influence the election in favor of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), he said.
The article quoted an unnamed Washington official — believed to be National Security Adviser Tom Donilon — as saying that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had left US President Barack Obama’s administration with “distinct concerns” about her ability to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The US would like to reassure the DPP, as well as the people of Taiwan, that it would remain neutral on Taiwan’s elections, Wu said.
Stanton was seen standing near the press area and facing the cameras, which was unusual.
“[Stanton] never mentioned anything about the Financial Times, but I guess he and his colleagues wanted to make their presence felt and make sure it was picked up by the media,” Wu said.
In her speech at the reception, Tsai recounted the party’s 25-year history and pledged to diplomats that the DPP would be an open and transparent political party and a “willing and able partner.”
Over the years, “some things have changed and some have not,” the DPP presidential candidate said.
“The party has been persistent in promoting the fundamental values of human rights, democracy and social justice — we have insisted on standing by the under-privileged and disadvantaged,” she said.
While the DPP’s founding members’ courage was tested, the new generation of leaders would be tested for their ability to manage and govern, Tsai said.
“The DPP today is more experienced and [better] prepared than ever for the opportunity to govern again,” Tsai told dozens of foreign dignitaries.
However, the party would not win next year simply by criticizing the current government’s incompetence, Tsai said.
“Instead, we shall win by convincing the people that we are more competent and mature than the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT],” she said.
“We shall win by presenting policy choices that are more progressive and responsive to the real needs of the people, and we shall win by being the positive force that transcends the divisiveness of the past and unites the people of Taiwan,” she said.
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