Groups support, protest AIT compound unveiling

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jun 13, 2018 - Page 3

Taiwanese independence advocates yesterday rallied to support the unveiling of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound, while proponents of unification with China protested.

Taipei police and back-up units separated the groups on the road outside the compound in the city’s Neihu District (內湖) and secured the area for Taiwanese and US political figures attending the ceremony.

Pro-independence rally organizers estimated that 600 people participated, including people bused in from central and southern Taiwan.

They carried banners and shouted slogans calling for independence and enhanced military cooperation with the US to counter China’s belligerent threats.

“We are not protesting; we are here to celebrate the unveiling. The US will continue to help protect Taiwanese from China under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act,” Taiwan Government Party chairman Peter Ku (古文發) said.

The compound sends a strong message to the world that Taiwan and the US are forging stronger bilateral links and that Washington is committed to defending Taiwan from military invasion by China, Taiwan Independence Party chairman and retired army colonel Tseng Miao-hung (曾淼泓) said.

“Our members support upgrading the AIT into the official US embassy and setting up more installations here to make Taiwan one of the US’ main political and military operational centers in the western Pacific,” Tseng added.

Taiwan Autonomy Alliance head Brian Qo (吳崑松) said his organization had prepared a congratulatory card with a letter expressing its gratitude and support, but police barricades prevented him from presenting it to AIT officials.

However, Lee Tung-hsing (李東興) of the Taiwan Independence Banner Squadron had a different message for the AIT.

“My organization is here to tell the US government to remove the Republic of China (ROC) political structure. It was the US military that assisted Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his ROC regime in its illegal occupation of Taiwan in the late 1940s. Taiwanese have had enough of this nonsense. Please return this Chinese ROC monstrosity back to China, as it is the US’ responsibility,” Lee said.

On the other side of the road, Chang An-le (張安樂) led his Chinese Unity Promotion Party (CUPP) and other pro-China groups in a protest against the compound unveiling, at which they displayed the “five star” national flag of China.

Chang and his supporters had a minor scuffle with police when they tried to present a “gift” to the AIT: a wooden plaque with the Chinese idiom xuan ya le ma (懸崖勒馬, “rein in the horse at the brink of a precipice”).

“We demand that the US government withdraw its military from Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands ... because the US has acted like a bully and occupied these territories in dishonorable ways. Their bases in the region are blocking China’s access to the Pacific through the East China Sea,” the CUPP said in a statement.