Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) has resigned as an adviser to the Taichung City Government in the wake of a heavily criticized trip to China.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the city government said Hsia, who departed for China on Wednesday and is undergoing 10 days of COVID-19 quarantine, tendered his resignation on Friday.
The city government added that it respects his wishes, and expressed gratitude for his contributions and assistance to Taichung.
Photo: Taipei Times, file photo
Hsia is visiting as Beijing continues a high-pressure military and economic campaign against Taiwan in retaliation for a 19-hour visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Aug. 2 and 3.
Hsia’s trip has drawn criticism not only from the Democratic Progressive Party, but also from colleagues inside the KMT.
The city government said Hsia told Taichung Deputy Mayor Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達) that the controversy surrounding his trip had caused trouble for the city government, so he would resign as an adviser and a member of the city’s international affairs committee.
Although Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) — who is also a KMT member and had said the trip came at an inappropriate time — urged him to stay on, Hsia insisted on stepping down, the city government said.
Among the critics of Hsia’s trip to China, the Mainland Affairs Council said the visit could cause confusion in the international community about how Taiwanese perceive China’s military threat.
Inside the KMT, New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) called the merits of visiting China at this moment “debatable,” as the country should be united in the face of Beijing’s rising military threat.
KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), who has supported Hsia’s trip, on Saturday said that Taiwan and China need a channel to engage in exchanges and communication amid escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
Although he acknowledged that Hsia’s trip could adversely affect the KMT in the November local elections, Chu said the visit is a positive move for Taiwan.
Separately yesterday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) reiterated Taiwan’s resolution to defend its sovereignty, dignity, democracy and freedom in the face of Chinese threats.
“There are many democracies in the world faced with suppression from authoritarian countries. Taiwan also faces threats from China and we are reminded by professor Peng that democracy and freedom are Taiwan’s biggest assets, the values that Taiwanese in this generation must unite and safeguard,” she said at a ceremony in Taipei honoring Taiwanese democracy pioneer Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), who passed away on April 8.
Additional reporting by Chen Yun
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