TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A video by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) looking back at the year featured many Taiwanese politicians but not Taichung City Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), Taiwanese media noted Thursday (Dec. 31).
The Kuomintang (KMT) mayor recently had a run-in with AIT Director Brent Christensen, Washington’s top representative stationed in Taiwan, about the opening up of Taiwan to pork from the United States that has been treated with the leanness drug ractopamine. The government’s decision to lift a ban on the pork starting Friday (Jan. 1) has caused health concerns, with KMT politicians organizing protests and a petition drive for a referendum.
During their Dec. 16 meeting, Lu told Christensen directly about her opposition to the pork policy, a move which was condemned as ill-mannered and provocative by the mayor’s critics. The encounter had originally been scheduled as private, but the mayor unexpectedly opened it up to the media, the Liberty Times reported.
In the new video posted on Facebook Thursday, the AIT director was seen meeting with numerous senior Taiwanese politicians from all major parties, including New Taipei City’s KMT Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) but not Lu.
In his New Year message, Christensen hints at the differences of opinion. “And while we have not always agreed, we have built on our strong foundation of mutual respect and shared values to find common ground and pursue our common interests,” he said.
The AIT director also expressed gratitude to the “many people who have touched my life and made our relationship stronger,” emphasizing that “people-to-people ties are what truly bind the United States and Taiwan.”