In an apparent rebuttal to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), the party’s likely presidential candidate, said that she has the final say on whether she is to visit Washington and on her stance on cross-strait issues.
Chu yesterday morning said that the KMT would arrange for Hung to visit the US in August or September if the party’s national congress endorses her nomination next month, despite Hung seeming reluctant to visit the US.
However, Hung issued a statement in the afternoon saying her campaign team would take into account two factors — whether it would be in the nation’s interests and whether time permits — before a decision would be made on the matter.
Photo: Chen Wei-tsung, Taipei Times
Hung appeared to be put on the spot with questions of her intent to visit the US, primarily to exchange views over cross-strait issues, as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recently did, after American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy on Wednesday said, in response to media inquiries, that the US would welcome a visit by Hung and accord her the same courtesy as her DPP counterpart.
Having said on Thursday that she was “hesitant” and “reluctant” about visiting Washington, despite being repeatedly urged by Chu to do so, also asking why she should bother “if [the US] will not show a higher level of courtesy” toward her than to Tsai, when she was asked to respond to Moy’s remarks, Hung said on Friday that her earlier remarks were “coy” and of a “joking nature.”
Hung said on Friday that she would be “willing to reconsider” a trip to Washington if the US side invites her with good intentions, but her previous statements have prompted heated discussion among political commentators.
In an article published by the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Friday, Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) said Hung should visit the US as soon as possible, before the US Congress adjourns for the summer.
Now that Moy has extended a welcome, Hung should not be hesitant, Jaw wrote.
Jaw said that Hung should communicate with US government officials, senators, representatives and media to clarify that she would push for economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, rather than unification.
Hung should consider a visit to the US an opportunity to make friends and share her views with the US, given that the US’ acquaintance with her is limited, and to enhance her understanding of international affairs, Jaw wrote.
US-based Chinese writer and democracy advocate Yu Jie (余杰), in an article published on news Web site Newtalk, said that if Hung goes to Washington, she would not have as much success as Tsai did.
With China growing more assertive and the US focusing more on East Asia, the US would not tilt in favor of the KMT this time as it did in the 2012 presidential election amid worries that a change of government might create tensions in cross-strait relations when it was then preoccupied with the Middle East, Yu said.
Amid rising US-China tensions, the US has lost trust in the KMT because of the party’s extreme pro-China agenda, Yu said.
Chu yesterday attempted to shift attention away from the topic, saying that Hung was just speaking “in a light, humorous tone” when she made the remarks that suggested she was unwilling to visit the US.
Hung’s statement yesterday was described by media as a “slap in Chu’s face.”
From now on, if any discrepancy arises between the KMT and Hung’s campaign team with regard to whether to a US visit or cross-strait issues, what Hung or her spokesperson says should prevail, the statement read.
Hung said she would set up a meeting with Moy after the party congress to discuss the “triangular relationship of the US, the Republic of China and mainland China.”
She added that her advisers on diplomacy, including former ministers of foreign affairs, Chen Chien-jen (程建人) and Francisco Ou (歐鴻練), would stay in close contact with the US to help it understand her cross-strait policy and provide answers should it have any questions.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations