Taipei mayor dismisses US researcher's comments as 'bizarre'

Ko Wen-je shoots down American think tank researcher Bonnie Glaser for characterizing him as being pro-China

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Ko Wen-je (center) (Taipei City Government photo)

Ko Wen-je (center) (Taipei City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has shot down American think tank researcher Bonnie Glaser after she characterized him as a pro-China politician that Beijing would work with to counter the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“This person looks like an ally [of the DPP],” said Ko on Friday (Jan. 17), in Estonia, in a clear reference to Glaser. The mayor is on a 10-day tour in Europe, traveling to the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland since Jan. 12.

Ko criticized Glaser, a senior adviser at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, for being biased in favor of the DPP camp. He also dismissed Glaser’s comments, calling them “bizarre.”

In a telephone interview with SETN earlier this week, Glaser said she did not think China’s leader Xi Jinping (習近平) would resort to the use of force against Taiwan in the coming years to bring the island nation under Beijing’s control, even though Xi has never abandoned such an option.

Glaser believes the Chinese authorities are looking to the next presidential election, in which it would wish the DPP to lose power. In that case, Beijing is likely to find a potential partner in Taiwan to work with, said Glaser, adding the person could be Ko, Foxconn founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), or someone from the Kuomintang.

This is not the first time Glaser has exchanged heated words with the mayor. Glaser previously cast doubt on his stance toward China.

Two months before Ko made a U.S. tour in March 2019, Glaser openly criticized Ko’s aide for making the public assume that Ko had been invited by Glaser and the CSIS to the U.S. so as to make an impression the U.S. was supportive of Ko. In her statement, Glaser said she had never tendered an invitation to Ko and she would not endorse any particular politician for an election.