A controversial group calling itself the Taiwan Civil Government (TCG) plans to open a Washington office next week amid fears that it could further complicate relations between Taiwan and the US.
Rumors are rampant within the Taiwanese-American community that the group has the support of the US State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA — allegations that US officials quickly characterized as “totally untrue.”
Victoria Margaret Kuo, listed on the group’s Web site as director of the Washington office, told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview from her home in Chicago that other officials within the TCG had assured her that the American Institute in Taiwan, the State Department and the Department of Defense had provided “verbal confirmation” of their support.
Kuo said she had also “heard” that the CIA was helping the group and might provide financing.
While the CIA officially has no comment on the group — it almost never comments on such allegations — a source in a position to know said that any speculation about CIA involvement was “ridiculous.”
Nevertheless, the group has been able to raise sufficient funds from Taiwanese-Americans and supporters in Taiwan to throw a “grand opening cocktail party” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington on Wednesday next week.
Kuo said the Washington office would officially open shortly after the cocktail party and that it will be in the Millennium Building at 1909 K Street Northwest.
Originally, the TCG said that its office would be on Washington’s Embassy Row — home to many embassies — implying that it would function in some ways as an embassy.
However, K Street is not Embassy Row — it is the center of the city’s bustling political lobbying industry.
Kuo, who said she had been “very active” in US-Taiwan affairs for many years, will run the office with two assistants.
According to the TCG, the US became the “principal occupying power” in Taiwan after World War II and still holds that position under the San Francisco Peace Treaty of April 28, 1952.
The group says the government in Taipei is not legitimate and that ethnic Taiwanese are entitled to US protection. Some group members believe Taiwanese are entitled to US passports.
“It’s crazy, it’s just crazy,” a retired US diplomat said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make statements on the issue.
“The idea that the US should take over Taiwan and somehow run the island defies all common sense. There is absolutely no support in the US government or the US Congress for anything like that. It would run counter to all of our policies,” the retired official said.
The TCG’s Web site lists Cheng Chung-mo as chairman, Nieco Tsai and Kensho Sone as vice chairmen and Roger C.S. Lin as secretary-general.
“We must look to the USA for the resolution of many of the problems we have suffered, as the USA is the conqueror and principal occupying power of Japan and her overseas territories,” Kuo said in a recent speech.
“The USA has some unfinished business after WWII — most importantly there is a constitutional obligation to help the local Taiwanese people establish a Civil Government of the people of Formosa,” she said.
“I am very excited and very optimistic about this happening. And the best part of it is, we can do this under the protection of the US Constitution,” she said.
While US government officials do not want to comment on the group for fear of giving it some kind of credibility, they are fully informed of developments and are aware of the rumors of US support and involvement that are being spread.
“I am worried,” a long-time Taiwanese activist in Washington told the Taipei Times.
“The TCG office will dilute the efforts of legitimate lobbyists. There is only so much financial support to go around and they will siphon some of that away,” the activist said.
“The trouble is, a lot of Taiwanese fear that President Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) might lead Taiwan into the Chinese camp and lose its democracy. There are some clever talkers within the TCG and they have persuaded people to take a chance on them. These people want to believe what is being said,” the activist said.
This source said supporters of the TCG had told him that the CIA and the Pentagon were backing the TCG because the US was planning to occupy Taiwan militarily to counter — among other things — China’s ambition in the South China Sea.
“I can see a lot of people turning out for the cocktail party and the opening of the office. My hope is that it will all fizzle out within a year. But they can do a lot of damage in that time,” the source said.
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