TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – It was first reported on Dec. 18 that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is planning a trip to the United States in the spring of next year.
It has since been reported that during the trip Ko will visit the U.S. think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is located in Washington D.C.
This confirms the speculation of some that Ko was planning to visit the U.S. capital in his role as the mayor of Taipei. The news is likely to fuel even more speculation surrounding a possible presidential bid.
Upmedia reports that in early December several researchers and aides from CSIS made a visit to Taipei City Hall to hold a closed door meeting with Ko. It was reportedly at this meeting that Ko began planning his visit to Washington D.C., which has been confirmed for March, 2019.
The CSIS is regarded as an important research institution with many connections in Washington and significant influence in U.S. foreign policy.
Recently, White House Advisor Peter Navarro addressed the institute on the topic of the U.S.-China trade war. In 2017, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then CIA chief, addressed the CSIS in April, as did former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October.
In Taiwanese politics, candidates planning to run for president are known to arrange a visit to the United States in the early stages of the campaign. The CSIS members made the visit to Ko in Taiwan shortly after he was re-elected as Taipei Mayor in November’s nine-in-one elections.
KMT politician, and former mayor of New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), has also recently announced a trip to the U.S., which coincides with his bid for the presidency ahead of the January 2020 national elections, reports Upmedia. Details on Chu’s trip have yet to be announced.