Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) yesterday pledged to faithfully convey President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) US policies as the nation’s new representative to the US, dismissing challenges over his lack of experience in foreign affairs.
In an interview with UFO Network Radio, King said he had worked on party diplomacy as the head of the KMT’s international relations department when he first returned from overseas study in the US, and that as the envoy to the US, he would seek to strengthen communications with top US officials.
“Taiwan and the US need communications without any interference ... I am not the first choice, but I will work to eliminate unnecessary interference in US-Taiwan diplomacy. The criticism will be gone if we are able to present great achievements,” he said.
Describing the political sphere as a “whirlpool,” King said he tried to leave the whirlpool in line with his pledge during the 2008 presidential campaign not to take up any post in the Ma administration. However, he said he finally agreed to take over as the US envoy to help implement Ma’s US policies.
“It’s a difficult time for the administration, and it’s why I agreed to return to the team. I am not passive. The Ma administration needs to find the rhythm and locate the problem ... I will fully cooperate with President Ma’s arrangements,” King said.
Often referred to as “King the Knife,” he is known for his sharp attacks on Ma’s political rivals and has developed a close working relationship with the president, helping Ma win every major election in his political career, from Taipei mayor in 1998 to the KMT chairmanship and the presidency in 2008.
However, his lack of experience in foreign affairs has prompted many to question the president’s decision.
King said his appointment and that of others, including Mainland Affairs Council chairman-designate Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), were aimed at better implementing government policies, adding that the president would like to accomplish more and see more benefits for Taiwan during his second term in office.
Commenting on the timing of the personnel reshuffle in foreign and China affairs, King said that in spite of peaceful cross-strait relations, recent sovereignty disputes among China, Japan and South Korea had increased tensions in East Asia.
The government also aims to strengthen relations with the US, because it has an impact on the nation’s relations with Japan and South Korea, he said.
“The foreign affairs network is extremely sensitive at this time, and the government needs to have a full plan to implement policies and convey its message better,” he said.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who declined to be named yesterday said the US government had welcomed King’s appointment.
American Institute in Taiwan spokesperson Mark Zimmer said he had not yet seen the US comment relayed by the ministry official.
“We just see the transition, but we look forward to continuing deepening the relationships with Taiwan,” Zimmer said.
Meanwhile, Representative to the EU David Lin (林永樂) is scheduled to return to the country next week to take up his new position as minister of foreign affairs. His deputy, Wang Wan-li (王萬里), will temporarily take over as acting representative.
The ministry said it had not yet determined who would succeed Lin.