Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Mayor Ko defends ‘friendly’ ties with China

‘AWKWARD SITUATION’:Ko Wen-je said that Taiwan’s dealings with China and the US are awkward, as ‘our hardware is made in China, but the software is from the US’

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei City Government

“Having affinity toward the US and being friendly toward China” is a strategic tool that does not go against Taiwan’s sovereignty, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said in Washington on Thursday.

Ko made the remark in response to media queries at a meeting with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in Georgia.

On Wednesday, the fifth day of Ko’s visit to the US, he spoke at the Heritage Foundation in Washington about his background and political views.

He restated his “five mutual principles” — recognition, understanding, respect, cooperation and consideration of each other’s interests — as his approach to the cross-strait relationship and said that Taiwan, being a small country, must be “wise and strong” to survive and interact with world powers.

When asked by the host what he would do in response to the long-term problem of Beijing claiming that Taiwan is part of China, Ko said that there is no mutual trust between the two.

While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) endorses the so-called “1992 consensus,” saying both sides acknowledge “one China,” with each having its own interpretation of what “China” means, China’s only accepts the “one China” part, so the KMT’s “1992 consensus” is not accepted by China, Ko said.

The “1992 consensus” is a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000.

“As for the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP], President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) commits to maintaining the status quo, but the situation is more like: ‘What is important is not what you say or what you do, but what I feel,’” he said, adding that Beijing sees Tsai as pursuing “desinicization” and is upset about it.

The KMT and the DPP have trouble communicating with China, but although many people recognize the barrier between the two sides, Taiwan and China should not completely cut off communications because they have a close relationship, Ko said.

The reality is that there are more than 380,000 Chinese spouses in Taiwan, more than 2 million Taiwanese working in China and the Taiwanese trade surplus in goods with China was about US$85 billion last year, so haboring hatred against each other is not good for either side, he said.

When asked by member of the audience to explain what strategy Taiwan should use to deal with the US and China, Ko — giving an analogy — said it is an awkward situation, as “our hardware was made in China, but the software was made in the US.”

Taiwan and China speak the same language and are the same race, but Taiwanese values are more closely matched with the US, he said.

“With the US-China trade dispute, Taiwan should think about how it can survive, rather than what it can leverage for its benefit,” he said. “Having affinity toward the US and being friendly toward China is our basic strategy... This is the best national strategy for Taiwan.”

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