Taiwan DPP's to open US office before June

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party will open its office in the United States before June, representative Joseph Wu said in Washington, D.C. Friday.
Wu, a former Taiwan representative to the US and Mainland Affairs Council minister, said party chairman Su Tseng-chang would attend the official opening, some time in May or June before Congress went into summer recess.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would still have to give their approval to the setting up of the office, but a preparatory office could be opened early next year, Wu said. He added that he would visit Washington at least once every two months, but would not be based there.
The DPP official arrived in the US capital on December 3 and first visited think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the Stimson Center and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Wu was not prepared to reveal which government bodies he had visited, though he said he had mainly discussed economic and trade issues. He said he asked US officials to take a serious attitude toward Taiwan’s bid to conclude Free Trade Agreements, as the country had not signed a single FTA since the 2010 Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China.
Taiwan needed to open its market further in preparation to join regional economic groups, Wu quoted US officials as telling him. According to Wu, Taiwan needed to adapt its market structure and solve its budgetary problems.
The DPP representative also said he exchanged views with officials and academics on whether Taiwan’s role coincided with US interests in the tense situation in East Asia. China has been taking an aggressive stance in its conflicts with the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam over mainly uninhabited islands.
The new official representative of the government in the US, King Pu-tsung, also recently took up his new job in Washington. Since his arrival on December 1, he had been paying intensive visits to government officials, State Department representatives, members of Congress, academics and Overseas Taiwanese, he said.
Discussing the island disputes with reporters Friday, King emphasized that the US insistence on a peaceful resolution of conflicts and President Ma Ying-jeou’s August 5 East China Sea Peace Initiative were two elements moving in the same direction. In public and in private, officials had told him that they saw Ma’s policies as emphasizing a peaceful handling of disputes and the avoidance of tension and instability, King said.
The Ma confidant reiterated the key points of the president’s views, including the putting aside of differences of opinion and the joint development of resources.
On trade issues, King said the US approved of recent Ma statements emphasizing the speeding up of liberalization in Taiwan.
The new representative said he would need one or two months to familiarize himself with his new function. Once that learning process completed, he wanted to visit the 12 regional Taiwanese offices, King told reporters.
When his appointment was first announced, King was criticized for his lack of diplomatic background and understanding of US government and politics. The DPP said the only factor which had won him the appointment was his close relationship with Ma, whom he served as election campaign spokesman, manager, and Kuomintang secretary-general.
King is expected to return to Taipei to deliver a report on Taiwan-US relations to the Legislative Yuan on December 26.