Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

MAC defends itself over Ko’s complaint

MATTER OF OPINION:The mayor said that he felt he had been left standing on his own by the MAC and National Security Council, but a MAC official said it was doing its job

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied verbally attacking Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) over comments he made at a cross-strait forum in Shanghai in July after Ko accused the council of leaving him “standing alone.”

MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said the council was properly expressing Taiwanese public opinion and maintaining the nation’s dignity, he said.

In a television interview that aired on Tuesday evening, Ko said he was really sad that the government had neglected him before he left for the Taipei-Shanghai Forum, but later criticized him for remarks he made there.

“When the plane landed [back in Taiwan] and the cabin doors had not even been opened, I turned on my phone and immediately saw the press release issued by the council,” he said, choking up. “My tears almost fell.”

Ko said he had sent a draft of his speech for the forum and other information to the National Security Council (NSC) before he left for Shanghai, but the NSC did not respond, which made him think the central government was not willing to back him up.

Sending delegations to the annual cross-strait forum and holding the recent Universiade are not events that Taipei can manage on its own, but the NSC and the MAC had let him “face the communists alone” and then criticized him afterward, which made him feel “pathetic and sad,” he said.

Ko’s comments at the forum that the “two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family” and “a married couple might say bad things about each other in an argument, but a quarrel between lovers begins at one end of the bed and is mended at the other end” were widely criticized after they were reported in Taiwan.

However, Ko said on Tuesday that using the phrase “a married couple” was an off-the-cuff remark, but the rest of his speech was the same the one that he made two years ago at the forum.

His comments drew more attention this year because the cross-strait relationship has worsened, he said.

After Ko returned from the forum, the MAC issued a press release saying that cross-strait interactions should be based on the principles of “equality and dignity.”

MAC Deputy Minister Lin Cheng-yi (林正義) also said in an interview at the time that phrases such as “two sides of the Strait are one family” and “a community with a shared destiny” are China’s opinion.

Chiu yesterday said the council “did not [verbally] attack Mayor Ko, and we believe that Mayor Ko should understand this.”

When Ko attended the forum, China had just formed official ties with Taiwan’s former diplomatic ally Panama in attempt to put pressure on Taiwan to compromise to its political stance, which triggered a public backlash in Taiwan, Chiu said.

The MAC was therefore emphasizing that all groups in Taiwan should unite and stand firmly in line with the government’s policy in the face of China’s suppression and the nation’s diplomatic dilemma, Chiu said.

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