Sat, Jan 14, 2012 - Page 1 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: AIT distances itself from Douglas Paal

NOT AFFILIATED:The AIT said it was inappropriate for Director William Stanton to meet in an official capacity with Paal following his remarks about today’s election

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters

In response to Paal’s comments, AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said any statements Paal made were his “personal views” because he is “a private citizen” and no longer works for the AIT.

“Paal does not work for the US government and his statements do not represent US government policy,” Kavanagh said. “The US will be very happy to work with whoever the people of Taiwan elect as president.”

Paal was initially scheduled to visit the DPP yesterday afternoon, but the party called off the meeting after Paal’s comments and rescheduled it to today at 3:30pm. Tsai does not plan to meet Paal during his visit and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), director of international affairs at Tsai’s campaign office, will act as Tsai’s representative.

Paal is also scheduled to visit Ma’s campaign office at 10:30am today. He met People First Party Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) on Thursday.

Responding to Paal’s comments, Hsiao told a press conference that Paal’s remarks were his own views and not the position of the US government.

It was not the first time Paal tried to collaborate with the KMT before a major election in Taiwan to influence voters, as Paal also made pro-KMT comments prior to the 2008 election, Hsiao said.

“Paal’s behavior was disrespectful to the Taiwanese public’s freedom of choice,” she said, adding that the KMT’s attempt to “play the endorsement card” with a former foreign officials was “immoral, somewhat childish and against standard diplomatic practice.”

The DPP had been in close contact with US officials in Washington and Taipei after Paal’s comments, she said, and the US reiterated that it would work with any candidate elected and that it respects Taiwan’s democracy.

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