Tue, Apr 16, 2019 - Page 3 News List

AIT chair says US not involved in Taiwan polls

FREE AND FAIR:The US’ goal is process that accurately reflects the will of the people, and it could partner with whatever administration is elected in 2020, James Moriarty said

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty, right, speaks at a forum on the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act held by AIT and ICRT at National Taiwan University in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty yesterday said that the US would not get involved in Taiwan’s elections and looks forward to working with whatever administration Taiwanese elect in January next year.

Moriarty made the remarks at a forum hosted by ICRT and the AIT at National Taiwan University yesterday morning on the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

He was responding to a question by Hon Hai Precision Co (鴻海精密) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who asked whether Washington would support any candidate in next year’s presidential election and if it would allow Taiwanese to elect their own new leader.

“I kind of wonder why you are asking that question. Of course, we would respect the will of the Taiwanese people. Democracy chooses its own leaders and the interests of country and partners continue. We would expect those interests to continue under any leadership the Taiwan people elect,” Moriarty said.

The US would not endorse anyone, nor does it plan to get involved in Taiwan’s upcoming election, he said.

“[Doing so] is not the goal of the US. The goal of the US is to have a free and fair process that accurately reflects the will of the people and then it could partner with whatever administration is sitting here in Taipei in 2020,” he said.

The question by Gou, who has long been considered as leaning toward the pan-blue camp, came at a time when a series of moves by the US administration and the US Congress have been interpreted by some as a demonstration of support by Washington for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party, who plans to run for re-election.

They include sending a high-profile delegation headed by former US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan to Taiwan this week to celebrate the TRA’s 40th anniversary, as well as the passage last week by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs of a Taiwan-friendly resolution and a bill to strengthen Taiwan-US partnership.

When asked on the sidelines why he decided to attend the forum, Gou said it was an important event, given that the US has sent a strong delegation to Taiwan to mark the TRA’s anniversary.

As the forum allowed the audience to ask questions, he said he wanted to be there to ask Moriarty whether he was in Taiwan to endorse a certain candidate.

Asked whether he might consider running for president himself, Gou said that people think there is already an excellent choice on the table — Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

However, Gou said he does not support anyone, but he would support the best candidate for Taiwan.

There have been growing calls within the KMT for Han to represent the party in next year’s election, but the mayor has repeatedly expressed his lack of interest in the race.

Gou also said he “utterly disagreed” with the idea that one should rely on the US for national defense.

Accusing the US of “fooling us [Taiwan] with old weapons,” he said Taiwan should not buy arms from the US, but should instead use the money to invest in the US.

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