Incoming National Security Council secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) on Thursday described the occupation of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei by students protesting the cross-strait service trade agreement as an “act of violence.”
In any democratic society, “one should never appease, protect or incite an act of violence,” King said on Thursday at an airport in Washington in response to media inquiries about the ongoing protest before he boarded a flight back to Taiwan.
“No one, in whatever capacity, is allowed to occupy the legislative chamber through the use of violence resulting in vandalism and a trampling of public authority,” said King, who left the post as the country’s representative to the US after serving for one and a half years.
“Such behavior is not tolerated in the US,” he added.
King denounced some media outlets for what he described as positive coverage of the protests, saying that the media “extolled the actions on purpose.”
If the occupation happened in the US, the press would discuss whether the students’ actions were appropriate or inappropriate, King said.
The students’ protest, which led to tens of thousands occupying the legislative complex, was prompted by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision on Monday that the controversial trade pact had cleared the committee stage, sending it directly for a second reading for a vote as a whole without a line-by-line review.
King is to assume his new position on Tuesday.
He urged the “silent majority to speak out against acts of violence.”
Just because a few people speak louder does not mean that they represent the silent majority, King said, adding that politicians and political parties who stand for acts of violence like these would lose support from the majority.
Asked by reporters whether he suggested that the students should be forcibly removed from the legislative chamber, King said: “Absolutely not.”
King said he would respect how Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and the legislature handle the occupation because the power is their hands.
“However, the public should not encourage acts of violence. People should work together for a democratic society under the rule of law,” King added.
While a democracy should be open to diverse opinions, everyone should abide by the law so controversial issues can be discussed or debated publicly in a rational manner, King said.
King declined to comment on the potential impact of the trade pact on the nation, saying that he was not in an appropriate position to comment on the agreement itself or on how the trade pact has been dealt with by the legislature.