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Taiwan's KMT chairman catches flak over weak response to AIDA flag incident

Former diplomat lambasts Eric Chu for lackluster comments over China's suppression of Taiwan at global diving event

KMT Chairman Eric Chu.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Taiwanese diplomat Liu Shih-chieh (劉仕傑) on Friday (Oct. 1) blasted Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) for his lackluster response to China’s interference at the 27th International Association for the Development of Apnea Depth (AIDA) World Championship.

Chu had made a Facebook post saying he “solemnly appealed to Beijing” to refrain from suppressing Taiwan on the international stage in order for the two sides of the strait to have positive interactions and development. He added that there are still many Taiwanese who are objective and express goodwill towards China and that such belligerent behavior will only alienate them.

The KMT chairman said that though politics and cross-strait relations may be complicated, what Taiwanese want is very simple. “We want to see that our national flag can fly freely and that we will not be suppressed when fighting for international space," he said.

Liu left a comment blasting Chu’s response by saying he was "super dumbfounded" and did not understand why the KMT chairman used the word “appeal” rather than “condemn,” according to the Liberty Times.

“Are you afraid of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) wrath?” the former diplomat asked. Liu also thought Chu’s decision to avoid the terms “CCP” and “Chinese government” was strange.

“You might as well just refer to Taiwan as ‘Taipei’?” he said. “Whatever happened to a battle-ready KMT (戰鬥藍)?”

Liu pointed out that Chu’s comments delegitimized Taiwan’s sovereignty and were cowardly.

The term “battle-ready KMT” was coined by Broadcasting Corp of China Chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) and refers to the mentality that the KMT will fight to the end in any challenge it faces.

Five Taiwan free divers were ready to participate in the 27th AIDA Depth World Championship, in Limassol, Cyprus from Sept. 20-30 with 150 other athletes. However, on Tuesday (Sept. 28), the event's organizer AIDA abruptly removed the Taiwan flag from the leader board on its livestream.

Subsequently, athletes from Russia, the U.S., Croatia, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, and Slovenia also requested their flags be removed in solidarity with their Taiwanese competitors.

Updated : 2021-12-09 10:52 GMT+08:00