Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) formally opened the party’s new offices in Washington on Friday and said that his visit to the US had been “smooth and successful.”
He said he had been able to explain DPP goals and ambitions to members of the administration of US President Barack Obama, to members of the US Congress and to leading think tank academics.
“They seemed to be happy and satisfied with us,” Su said.
“Everything we have heard has been very positive and the DPP’s image has been successfully rebranded,” DPP Representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.
“We wanted our friends in the US to understand the DPP and I think we have accomplished that,” Su said.
Su spent three busy days in the US capital, making speeches, meeting officials and socializing with members of the Taiwanese-American community.
One of the highlights came on Friday morning, when he officially opened the party offices in a fashionable new building a few minutes’ walk from the White House.
He said the DPP’s mission in Washington was small, but that it was a “good start.”
Su said that the DPP party offices would not compete with the government’s Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US. Instead, together with TECRO, the DPP mission would be able to give the US a more complete picture of Taiwan, he said.
He said that if there was some issue that TECRO did not explain well or clearly, the DPP mission would try to give the views of Taiwanese.
“We are setting up this office to have a fixed location so that our friends in the US can find the DPP anytime,” he said.
“We have big ambitions and we want to make sure the US administration understands the DPP and Taiwan,” Su said. “This will help us to return to power in 2016.”
Su said that for reasons of confidentiality, he could not give details of all his discussions in Washington or identify everyone he met, but that his talks had been “frank.”
During a press conference held in the new offices, Su said that while the party could be flexible in addressing “all kinds of issues,” it would never change its position on the sovereignty and independence of Taiwan.
He said that the KMT often said one thing, then did another.
“Sometimes in Taiwan they say one thing, but when they go to China, they seem to say something else,” Su said.
The DPP was very clear on sovereignty and had never been ambiguous on the issue, he said. That was the biggest difference between the two parties, he said. Su said that under the DPP, Taiwan would never collude with China over disputed territories in the East China Sea or the South China Sea.
Taiwan’s weapons are for the defense of the nation and would be used only against attacking forces, he said.
He said China was a rising power and he understood that it wanted to interact with the US.
“However, the US stands by its values and ideals and it stands by its promises to friends,” he said.
“We trust the US and we share these values and we are good partners not because of size, but because of common values,” Su said. “I have received very clear signals from the administration here that the US will not give up on friends.”
“Even though the US makes new friends, it will not give up on old friends,” Su said.