Mon, May 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko questions antagonism against China, wooing US

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, examines a product at Taiwan Optical Platform’s offices in Taichung yesterday morning.

Photo: Chen Chien-chih, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that despite its friendly relations with the US, Taiwan must not be antagonistic toward China.

Ko made the remark during a visit to Taiwan Optical Platform Co in Taichung yesterday when asked to comment on a television interview that he gave on Wednesday night.

“I think [Tsai’s] attitude toward befriending the US and confronting China is not right. We should remain within a range acceptable to everyone,” he said in the interview while commenting on US-China trade negotiations.

“Taiwan should be able to work with the US in some cases and with China in some others,” he said. “My idea is that we can be closer to the US, but standing with the US does not mean we have to make vicious remarks toward China or backstab it. It is not necessary.”

“While China cannot beat the US right now, its power is more than enough to bully Taiwan,” he said.

A public political discussion group on Facebook on Thursday held a poll, asking people whether they agreed with Ko’s stance. The poll ended on Saturday with 90 percent of about 24,400 people saying they disagreed with the mayor.

When asked by reporters to comment on the poll result, Ko yesterday said: “Befriending the US is absolutely necessary, but harboring a confrontational attitude toward China is not needed.”

He said that Taiwan should be more practical, so befriending the US should be its main focus.

Maintaining a close relationship with Japan and the US is necessary, but he disagrees with Tsai on “raising one’s voice” at China, Ko said, adding that it is like the Taiwanese proverb of “a grasshopper messing with a rooster.”

At the Presidential Office Building yesterday, Tsai said that Ko’s remarks were oversimplified and inaccurate.

“Our policy is to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty, to protect the democratic and free lifestyles in Taiwan, to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and to be a contributor of peace and stability in the region — this is the full statement,” she said.

Separately, when asked to comment on the participation of Jason Hu (胡志強) — a member of Taipei City Government’s Mainland Affairs Committee — in a media summit in Beijing on Saturday where Chinese officials were found coercing Taiwanese media companies, Ko said that Hu was only a member of the committee and that everyone was free to express their opinions.

However, Taiwan — like all nations — should be able to decide its own course of development, he added.

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