KMT legislative caucus accuses Hsieh of inaction

POLITICKING::Instead of aiding Taiwanese stranded in Kansai airport by the floods, the envoy wasted his time defending the DPP, the opposition said

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus yesterday accused Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of inaction and indifference to the plight of Taiwanese stranded at Japan’s Kansai International Airport because of Typhoon Jebi.

Not only did Hsieh fail to help with the evacuation or accommodations of Taiwanese grounded at the airport due to floods caused by the typhoon, on Wednesday, when the storm was wreaking havoc in Osaka, he posted an article on Facebook in response to the KMT’s criticism of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) election campaign strategies, KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told a news conference in Taipei.

The post drew criticism among many Facebook users, who said Hsieh seemed to be “at leisure,” Chiang said.

Two taboos for diplomats are that they should not criticize politics at home or in the country where they are posted, Chiang said.

In his frequent criticisms of the KMT, Hsieh seems to have forgotten his current status — that he is an ambassador, not a senior DPP member, Chiang said.

When asked about measures the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Japan had taken to help Taiwanese affected by the typhoon, Hsieh could only give vague descriptions, drawing criticism that he is already “obsolete,” Chiang said.

KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) said the caucus condemns in the strongest terms the indifference some Taiwanese diplomats in Osaka had shown toward Taiwanese requesting help.

A number of diplomats allegedly told Taiwanese passengers that they were only in charge of economic and trade affairs in Japan and were reluctant to provide them with assistance, Tseng said, citing media reports.

He demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs investigate the incident and hold diplomats accountable.

Tseng said that as early as Monday the Chinese embassy in Japan had published on its Web site a list of assistance available to Chinese traveling in areas on Jebi’s trajectory, while TECRO only published such assistance on Thursday night after coming under fire.

Asked about a report by the South China Morning Post that some Taiwanese evacuees in Osaka were allowed to board a shuttle bus dispatched by the Chinese embassy on Wednesday if they identified themselves as Chinese, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Chang Shu-ling (張淑玲) said that, based on her understanding, other than the airport’s own shuttle buses, no vehicles were allowed to depart from the Kansai airport.

However, citing a report by the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Osaka, KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) said the consulate on Wednesday and Thursday helped evacuate 1,044 people, including 32 Taiwanese.

The incident was a triumph for Beijing’s “united front tactic” and could have been prevented had TECRO responded more quickly and arranged shuttle buses to pick up Taiwanese leaving the airport, he added.

Hsieh yesterday afternoon left for Sapporo to oversee operations to aid about 700 Taiwanese stranded there after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Hokkaido Prefecture on Thursday.