Thu, Nov 10, 2016 - Page 3 News List

US ELECTION: KMT hopes for deeper US ties under Trump: Hung

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Cheng Hung-ta  /  Staff reporters

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu yesterday talks about her visit to China during a meeting of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee at KMT headquarters in Taipei.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday expressed the hope that Taiwan-US ties could further deepen following US president-elect Donald Trump’s victory, as other political parties also responded to the widely watched election.

At about 3:30pm in Taiwan yesterday, when US polls showed Trump leading his Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, by 247 to 215 electoral votes, the KMT issued a press release extending Hung’s congratulations to Trump.

“US elections have been the best exemplification of democracy. We also look to strengthen Taiwan-US bilateral ties,” Hung said in the news release.

Hung said that when former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was in office, Taiwan was admitted to the US’ Visa Waiver Program and Taipei’s relationship with Washington improved, with numerous mutual exchanges and bilateral programs being conducted between the two sides over the past eight years.

“The KMT wishes to build up on this foundation, to continue our mutual efforts and to deepen our cooperation in various sectors, in the hopes of ... building closer Taiwan-US ties,” Hung said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that Washington’s policies on Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region would still be based on US interests.

“The national interests of the US come first. If Clinton was elected, things would be more predictable, whereas a Trump victory would mean changes and new factors, and things would be more difficult to project,” Lo said.

Aside from the president, the composition of his national security team is equally important, Lo said.

“One thing that bears watching in the coming days is who will make up Trump’s national security team, and what is this team’s views and policies on the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

The DPP will also closely follow the US-China relationship and see if it becomes more tense, Lo said, adding that the main challenge for national security agencies is to watch for any potential changes in Washington’s ties with Beijing that could give Taipei more room to maneuver.

New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said his party respected the US election results, voicing his support while calling for a reconsideration of Washington’s “one China” policy.

However, Huang also called on the government to invest more in indigenous defense capabilities.

“We should not keep using the bulk of our defense budget on foreign weapons, because that is not going to solve the problem of strengthening our ability to defend ourselves in the long run,” he said.

However, he added that there is still room for cooperation with foreign suppliers, including the US.

Huang declined to comment on whether Taiwan should continue to lobby for accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but called for boosting economic and financial ties with the US.

Additional reporting by Abraham Gerber

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