Sat, Nov 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

DPP spinning bet on wrong candidate: KMT

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government is trying to spin the fact that it had placed its bet on the wrong US presidential candidate, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, referring to a statement by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration that Tsai had met with a key consultant of US president-elect Donald Trump.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) on Thursday said that Tsai had met a key consultant from Trump’s team last month, with Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) later saying that it was Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation think tank, and that the two met on Oct. 13.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that as the representative of the Heritage Foundation, Feulner “comes to Asia for a fundraising tour every year.”

“What does it have to do with Trump’s campaign team? Feulner has been to Taiwan more than 20 times,” Hung said.

While the Tsai administration showcased a photograph in which Tsai posed with Feulner, what it did not say was that over the past two decades, all sitting presidents — Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — had publicly met with Feulner, but no one claimed that he was the envoy of then-US Republican presidential candidates.

The meeting with Feulner is a “lifesaver” for the Tsai administration, which had “placed the wrong bet” on Democratic candidate Hilary Rodham Clinton, Hung said.

Tsai in November last year signed and presented a picture featuring three piglets — Tsai’s campaign icon — as a gift to Clinton, on which the words “Fight! Get elected!” (加油!當選!) were written.

DPP spokesman Ruan Jhao-syong (阮昭雄) said there was no need for the government to “place a bet” on who would win.

“What is embarrassing for Taiwanese is that the KMT is the only political party in the world that has relentlessly attacked its own government for ‘placing the wrong bet,’ while failing to show the least amount of sincerity in its willingness to help the nation face challenges,” Ruan said.

The national security team “had been on good terms with both Trump’s and Clinton’s campaigns, and foreign and national security policy teams,” he added.

Ruan also denied that Tsai was betting on Clinton when she sent her the “three piglets” card, because Tsai was only a presidential candidate at the time and Clinton had not secured the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“[The card] was simply an expression of good wishes, which is what people call courtesy,” he said.

Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had established contacts and interactions with both US presidential candidates’ national security and foreign policy teams since the two parties’ primaries.

It added that Feulner joined Trump’s transition team in August, “which was widely reported in the US at the time.”

“During his visit in October, Feulner, one of Taiwan’s long-time friends, had exchanged views with President Tsai and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee about the US election and Trump’s national security and foreign policies,” it said.

Additional Reporting by Tseng Wei-chen

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