Taipei mayor defines US trip as 'journey of learning'

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (By Central News Agency)

New York (CNA) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said upon his arrival in New York Saturday that his visit to the United States is a "journey of learning" and is aimed at introducing himself to the U.S.

Answering questions from reporters outside the John F. Kennedy airport, Ko elaborated that he plans to focus on city-to-city diplomacy in Atlanta, as well as attending a biotech industry forum in Boston with the goal of attracting business, and of gaining knowledge during a trip to New York.

As for his scheduled visit to Washington, D.C, his itinerary is "wait and see," Ko said in response to a question about what levels of U.S. officials he will meet with during his visit.

"Wait and see. You will know what will happen in the end," said Ko. He did not elaborate.

Asked about how he will "introduce himself" to the U.S., which he has claimed is curious about him and is observing his every movement, the physician-turned-politician said he will visit five to six think tanks during his March 16-24 trip.

"There will be many opportunities to communicate (with the U.S. side)," Ko said.

Asked if he intends to run in the 2020 presidential election, the outspoken mayor, an independent, repeated the answer he offered when asked about it in Taiwan: "Ask me again in June."

During his stay in New York -- the first leg of his week-long trip, Ko will meet with Andrew Nathan, an East Asian studies professor at Columbia University, and hold a casual seminar to exchange views with Taiwanese students there.

After New York, he will visit Washington, D.C., where he is scheduled to give a speech at the U.S. think tank Heritage Foundation and pay a courtesy call to the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

Ko is also scheduled to visit Atlanta and Boston March 21-22.

During this time, he will attend a reception to mark the 40th anniversary of sisterhood ties between Taipei and Atlanta.

In Boston, the mayor will meet representatives of the local biotechnology industry and attend a banquet with Taiwanese expatriates.

Ko's visit will conclude March 23.