Opposition chides Taiwan's ruling party for propagandizing US visit

KMT chairman says DPP-led government should be more transparent with public

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KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang.

KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) called on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to make political capital out of diplomatic situations following the arrival of a U.S. delegation led by Undersecretary of the U.S. State Department Keith Krach on Thursday evening (Sept. 17).

Krach is on a whirlwind trip to Taiwan, meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday (Sept. 18) as well as other governmental officials. On Saturday, he and Robert Destro, U.S. assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, will attend the memorial ceremony of Taiwan's former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) before returning to Washington.

There have been criticisms that there is little time for Taiwan-U.S. economic dialogue during Krach’s visit. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) responded on Thursday by saying such talks are wide ranging and the two sides are still making preparations, CNA reported.

Chiang said in an interview Thursday afternoon the DPP should not treat its diplomatic endeavors as party propaganda. He said diplomacy should be done quietly and in private, adding it should be pragmatic and the public should be informed.

Chiang said that after U.S. Secretary of Health Alex Azar came to Taiwan the public expected increased health cooperation. Instead, the government announced it would allow the import of ractopamine-containing U.S. pork.

Krach’s arrival was expected to look at trade initiatives, Chiang said. Instead, there was news about the U.S. planning seven arms sales, which showed the DPP was not being transparent.

As to media reports the KMT was reluctant to join American Institute in Taipei (AIT) staff for dinner recently because some party legislators did not understand English, Chiang refuted such claims, saying, “This is a completely incorrect report.” He added that plans for a dinner event were currently under discussion.

Chiang also said that relations with China and the U.S. are equally important to the KMT. The party is both pro-U.S. and pro-China, so there is no issue of “choosing a side,” he remarked.