Foreign Minister praises US-Taiwan relations, Taipei Mayor offers pessimistic response

Joseph Wu says 'US-Taiwan relations best in 40 years,' Ko Wen-je adds 'but relations with China worst in 30'

File photos: Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (R)

File photos: Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (R) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Monday (Oct. 7) stated that relations between the U.S. and Taiwan are the best they have been in 40 years ahead of the opening of the first U.S.-Taiwan Pacific Islands Dialogue in Taipei.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), however, was not impressed by Wu’s statement and responded sourly that while relations with the U.S. may be good, “Relations with China are the worst they’ve been in 30 years.” The Foreign Minister, speaking at a committee meeting at the Legislative Yuan, rebutted the mayor’s comment by stating that he did not think this was the case.

However, Wu also acknowledged that cross-strait relations are not his responsibility and that his priority is Taiwan’s international diplomacy. Despite the recent loss of two pacific allies, Wu emphasized that relations with the U.S. continue to improve at all levels and across all areas of cooperation.

Wu’s comments come ahead of the first Pacific Island Dialogue, which will be jointly hosted by the American Institute in Taipei (AIT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The dialogue, as well as the U.S.'s recent arms sales to the island, are evidence of strengthening ties between Taipei and Washington, said Wu.

Wu observed that under constant pressure from China, which seeks to restrict Taiwan’s international space, Monday's dialogue offers an important opportunity for Taipei and Washington to share views on important regional issues. The Liberty Times reports that the U.S. State Department will be represented by senior diplomat Sandra Oudkirk from the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.