Tue, Nov 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan is an independent, but not normal nation: Ko

CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS:While Taiwan shares cultural similarities with China, including language, it is not politically a part of China, the Taipei mayor said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, and Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien, front left, exchange books during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state, but it also an abnormal nation, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, adding that Taiwan is not part of China.

Ko made the remarks in response to a series of questions on cross-strait relations by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) City Councilor Chen Tzu-hui (陳慈慧) at the Taipei City Council.

Ko’s interactions with Chinese officials in recent months and his controversial remarks, such as the “two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family,” have sparked questions about his political stance and whether he has become pro-China.

Asked whether Taiwan is “an independent, sovereign state,” Ko said: “Yes, but it not a normal country.”

Asked whether Taiwan is part of China, the mayor said: “It currently is not.”

Given four choices to describe Taiwan-China relations — state to state, two areas under one nation, Taiwan is part of China, or China is part of the Republic of China — Ko said he is the mayor of Taipei and did not need to answer the question.

When pressed by Chen to give a clearer answer, Ko ruled out the latter two options.

Asked whether he supports Taiwanese independence or unification with China, Ko said: “I will keep [the answer] to myself and will not tell anyone.”

Chen asked whether he views himself as Taiwanese or Chinese, and Ko said it would depend on the definition.

“I can accept being culturally Chinese, because we speak Mandarin Chinese, but Taiwan is, politically, not part of China,” he said, while adding that he prefers to be viewed as Taiwanese.

When Chen asked whether he still believes his remarks in July on Taiwan and China being “a community with a shared destiny,” Ko said that Taiwan and China have a close economic relationship, with about 40 percent of Taiwanese exports going to China, so it would be impossible to deny the influence and shared interests.

When asked if he might join a political party, Ko said he would not rule out the possibility.

However, being a “loner,” political parties might not want him even if he expressed an interest to join, Ko added.

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