Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced that Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, will double as the party’s representative to the US, an appointment that has already won praise from the US.
Su told a press conference that since he had assumed the DPP chairmanship, the regional situation surrounding Taiwan had become very dynamic and that consequently, finding the means to strengthen Taiwan’s relations with the US — the nation’s most important ally — had become a key issue for the party.
Su said the party would reopen its representative office in Washington, adding that the first step in that direction was to assign Wu, a former representative to Washington during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, as DPP representative to the US.
Among other tasks, Wu will be responsible for the establishment of the office in the US capital.
“Wu’s performance in Washington [during the Chen administration] was widely appreciated and because he knows both US policy and the DPP’s policies, he is the best candidate to convey the party’s positions to the US side,” Su said.
Because of his responsibilities at DPP headquarters, Wu will not be stationed in Washington, but will visit there regularly, Su said.
Wu said he would not bring domestic politics with him to the US, but would do his utmost to represent the real voices of Taiwanese to Washington.
Wu said that in the future, the party would not only communicate with the US executive branch, but also the US Congress, think tanks and Taiwanese expatriate communities across the US.
Wu said that while he hoped to arrange for Su to visit the US in the near future, the party’s office in Washington had to be operational before this could happen.
The appointment was welcomed within the party.
The DPP must send someone better than President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) choice of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office representative and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), said Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), also a former envoy to the US.
Wu is a capable candidate who is familiar with both the US and China, and will have no problems, Lai said.
Former DPP legislator Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) said it was not common for the opposition party of a nation to have a representative office in another country.
Wu’s role will likely focus on key incidents and issues, and he will be seen more as a “special emissary of the DPP chairperson” rather than a party representative, Kuo said.
However, DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), a former vice representative to Washington, said the party’s representative to the US should be a full-time job, with the representative stationed permanently in the US.
“Because the job is complicated and the representative also has to deal with the relationships with China, Japan and other countries, the representative should be a full-time job,” Lee said.
Additional reporting by Jake Chung, with CNA