The head of an international delegation of electoral observers yesterday said remarks by a visiting former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director concerning today’s presidential election were “inexcusable” and were contrary to US commitments to Taiwan’s democracy.
Frank Murkowski, head of the international delegation for the International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan (ICFET), called a press conference after former AIT director Douglas Paal strongly endorsed in a TV interview the so-called “1992 consensus” adopted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), while calling the “Taiwan consensus” proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) “impractical.”
Paal, who was invited by the government-affiliated Prospect Foundation to lead a delegation of monitors, also raised doubts about Tsai’s ability to ensure stability across the Taiwan Strait and insinuated that Washington was apprehensive about a DPP victory in the election.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
While describing the democratic process in Taiwan as “orderly” and “energetic,” Murkowski said the past two days had seen the emergence of “surprising activity.”
“I take strong issue with any inference of US policy favoring any candidate or party,” the former US senator told the press conference.
“That is simply not the case,” he said, adding that AIT Director William Stanton had reiterated to him by telephone yesterday that the AIT remained neutral in the election, while US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell has also made comments reaffirming Washington’s neutrality.
Murkowski said the comments by Paal, now vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, were his own and that to suggest they reflected Washington’s view was inappropriate.
On Paal’s contention that if Tsai were elected the US would be “massively and quickly engaged to try to help her come to a formula that would preserve [cross-strait] peace and stability,” Murkowski said the remarks were “condescending” and that Tsai was a seasoned politician who was “perfectly capable to find a solution” to relations with Beijing.
Murkowski also dismissed as false Paal’s suggestion that a “leak” to the Financial Times by a senior US official raising concerns about Tsai’s ability to ensure peace across the Strait was a common view in Washington.
“This is editorializing to say the least,” Murkowski said, also taking exception with Paal’s reference to Tsai’s proposed “Taiwan consensus” as “too vague” to make Washington comfortable.
“I can assure you that Washington is never comfortable with anything,” the 78-year-old former senator said.
The “Taiwan consensus” represents an effort by Taiwanese to determine their future by democratic means, he said, adding that while the “1992 consensus” might have made sense in 1992, “things change.”
Paal’s comments were “careless” and “inexcusable,” he said, adding that it “challenges credulity [that Paal would presume] to speak for my government and the vast majority of Americans who have vast admiration for Taiwan’s democracy.”
They could also raise fears among Taiwanese voters over Washington’s commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act or Beijing’s reaction to the vote, he said.
Murkowski reiterated the ICFET’s mandate as an impartial body that does not favor any party or candidate, and raised issues with the delegation led by Paal, saying it was “quite contrary to the mission of a group that does not support any party.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been