The Kaohsiung City Government asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for administrative assistance with Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) 10-day US trip, which began yesterday, but while it would give assistance, it would not help him with accommodation and transportatin, because it was not asked to do so, deputy ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday in Taipei.
The ministry encourages city-to-city diplomacy, as diplomatic work requires collaboration from local and central governments across party lines, she said.
Han left a day ahead of schedule.
While there were rumors that he changed the schedule to be able to meet officials in Washington without media attention, the Kaohsiung City Government said the earlier departure was intended to give Han more time to adjust to the time difference between Taiwan and the US.
Han is scheduled to give talks at Harvard University and Stanford University, and meet with a retired ambassador and company representatives, the city government said.
He would not meet Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, but would meet Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Nina Hachigian in a private capacity, city officials said.
Before his departure, Han met with Taipei Forum chairman Su Chi (蘇起) — who as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairman in 2000 coined the term “1992 consensus” — and a group of academics at Kaohsiung City Hall.
Asked about Han’s controversial visit to China’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, Su said people “took it too seriously.”
The visit did not involve the same level of political sensitivity that a visit by a central government official would, Su said.
Asked if they discussed the “1992 consensus” during the meeting, the mayor said no.
However, he shares the same idea as his academic visitors: that Kaohsiung should keep an open mind and promote its businesses and products to other places, Han said.
Additional reporting by Wang Jung-hsiang
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