Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) is to be absent from a meeting with the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense committee on Monday because he is scheduled to be involved in a special project being negotiated between Taiwan and the US, a Foreign Affairs ministry official said yesterday.
Deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, Remus Chen (陳立國), declined to elaborate on the nature of the project due to the “subtleties” of diplomatic affairs, and said King is being engaged in follow-up work that needed to be done in the US related to his recent return to Taiwan, Chen said.
King returned to Taiwan on Dec. 9, keeping a low profile and returned to the US on Dec. 16.
Chen dismissed criticism leveled by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that King’s absence from the meeting was a show of disrespect for the legislature.
It was widely speculated that King, a long-term confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), might have been tapped to serve in the government to help the embattled Ma administration with the seven-in-one municipal elections at the end of this year.
King was quoted by a Central News Agency report yesterday as saying that he would be willing to attend a meeting of the committee on Dec. 30.
DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), convener of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, has requested that King report on Taiwan-US relations at a hearing scheduled to take place on Monday, although yesterday agreed to reschedule the meeting with King to Jan. 6.