Sat, Aug 18, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Political parties planning US trips

FORGING ALLIANCES:Both the KMT and the DPP want to strengthen ties with their Washington counterparts, with the US-Taiwan relationship enjoying renewed interest

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday confirmed that King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), a long-time adviser to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), is to travel to the US next month to attend the national convention of the US Democratic Party, dismissing speculation that he is to negotiate the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the US.

King, a former KMT secretary-general and now the top adviser of the KMT’s International Affairs Department, is to visit the US from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7 to attend the Democratic Party’s convention in North Carolina with a KMT delegation, according to party spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國).

“It is common practice at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to invite all political parties to attend the US Democratic Party’s national convention and King is a member of the KMT’s delegation. He will not have other missions to fulfil during the trip and the visit has nothing to do with the TIFA,” she said.

According to the Chinese-language China Times Weekly, King will attend the US party’s annual meeting and is to take the opportunity to meet with US President Barack Obama’s aides as well as academics and think tank members. He is to also hold private talks with the US on issues related to TIFA on behalf of the president, it said.

Ma Wei-kuo denied that King will serve as the president’s envoy during the US trip and defended King’s visit by insisting that he has engaged in party diplomacy for years and has participated in various international events to promote political party exchanges.

The KMT delegation is to be led by KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏). KMT legislators Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Alex Fei (費鴻泰) will also join the delegation.

Separately yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials said that the party’s chairman, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), is planning to visit the US later this year, most likely after the US presidential election in November.

Su, who was elected DPP chairman in late May, is considering a visit to the US at some point this year, said Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the party’s Department of International Affairs.

In the meantime, the DPP is to send delegations later this month and early next month to attend the national conventions of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party at the invitation of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liu said, adding that the delegation will be comprised of largely DPP lawmakers and party officials.

The party is to also send another delegation, comprised mainly of city councilors and aides, to observe the US general elections scheduled for Nov. 6, he said, adding that the DPP is also preparing to open a representative office in the US to strengthen its ties with the country.

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