The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) received an official permit this week from the District of Columbia to operate as a non-profit corporation in Washington.
A new office has been opened on 16th Street, a five-minute walk from the White House.
DPP Washington liaison officer Mike Fonte has been appointed the new director, with two associate liaison officers — Iris Shaw and Janice Chen.
DPP representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) made the announcements at a press conference in the new offices on Wednesday.
Wu, a former Taiwanese representative to the US, said that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) would visit Washington later this month or early next month for the opening ceremony.
Plans are still being made, but Su will talk with US congressional members, US foreign policy experts and the Taiwanese American community during his visit.
Su is also expected to make at least one major speech.
Wu said that a prime goal of the Washington office would be to foster close relations with the US and to explain the party’s policies and strategies toward China.
Sources close to the administration of US President Barack Obama say that before the last Taiwanese presidential election, the DPP failed to persuade Washington that it had a sound and well-developed strategy for dealing with China.
As a result, the US signaled its support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and in the opinion of some analysts helped in his victory.
Wu said during the press conference that under Su’s leadership, the party was developing a China policy review committee that would formulate a consensus on China strategy.
The DPP’s biggest task in Washington will be to persuade the ruling administration and Congress that its China policies will not unduly clash with US-China relations.
Wu said that a “complete and comprehensive process” was under way to build a China strategy that would take into account different “views and voices” within the party.
“We must go through a process to get a consensus,” he said.
Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), director of the DPP’s Department of International Affairs, said the party was not looking for a “magic answer” to cross-strait problems, but was rather seeking to develop policies that were best for Taiwan.
“We do not have a lot of money for a big office, but we want to make sure that the US understands what the DPP is doing,” Wu said.
“We need to communicate better. We are searching for the right path to help the DPP and the US to build a better relationship,” Wu said.