Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has come under fire from legislators after he compared the nation to a bank robber in its relationships with China and the US during a TV interview on Friday evening.
Ko said he is concerned that Taiwan’s space for survival is shrinking under the influence of China and the US.
He first expressed the view on Thursday evening in a live interview with Internet fitness celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢), in which Ko said that the precarious cross-strait relationship is characterized by Taiwan trying to find a balance.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“How can we expand our space? It is much more difficult than it was eight years ago,” Ko said, adding that China’s red line used to be Taiwan declaring independence, while the US used to demand that China not occupy and govern Taiwan.
However, due to trade tensions, China wants Taiwan to express its willingness to unify, while the US wants Taiwan to take a stance against China or even “follow it with a drill in hand,” he said.
During the interview on Friday, Ko was asked if it would be possible to gain more international space if Taiwan developed a better relationship with the US.
He said that doing so would be like “robbing a bank” and getting arrested because the robber “only saw the money and did not notice the police.”
“Taiwan is already facing a difficult diplomatic situation with China suppressing us in all aspects, so we hope everyone can support the government,” Democratic Progressive Party spokeswoman Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said, adding that most Taiwanese could not accept comparing the nation to a “robber” and China to “the police.”
Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said that people should not use random metaphors to describe the nation’s diplomacy or cross-strait relations, because they “can offend Taiwan’s friends.”
Asked about his remarks yesterday, Ko said he meant that when contacting China or the US, Taiwan must pay attention to how the other responds.
He did not intend to belittle any person or country in the metaphor, he said.
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