The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it doubted the accuracy of media reports about American Institute in Taiwan Chairman (AIT) Raymond Burghardt’s remarks about the cross-strait service trade agreement, adding that it hoped that Washington would refrain from commenting on Taiwan’s domestic politics.
“We have taken notice of Burghardt’s remarks and believe that they were taken out of context in the reports,” said Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the DPP’s representative to the US.
Burghardt was quoted by the Chinese-language China Times as saying during a discussion of US-Taiwan ties organized by the US-China Policy Foundation in Washington on Wednesday that the US “was pleased and welcomed” the cross-strait service trade pact signed in June.
The report is inconsistent with Washington’s long-standing position, which has always maintained that agreements between Taiwan and China would help reduce cross-strait tensions, but the US would not express its views on any cross-strait specific agreement, Wu said.
Wu said he believed the US was neutral on the agreement, in particular before a scheduled televised debate between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Sept. 15.
The DPP has expressed strong opposition to the opaque nature of the pact’s signing process, as well as its possible negative impact on millions of workers in the service industry.
“The pact affects the interests of people and businesses in Taiwan. Since the Ma administration’s opaque handling of the agreement has incited public outrage, we do not think Washington should play a role by remarking on domestic politics,” Wu said.
“Neither do we welcome any attempt to create tension and misunderstanding between the DPP and the US,” he added.
Wu, who also serves as executive director of the party’s Policy Research Committee, said DPP staffers were still trying to obtain a copy of the complete remarks made by Burghardt, adding that his comments were interpreted differently by different media outlets.