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Taiwan’s KMT speeds up preparation for US office

New party chairman Eric Chu keen to reinstate office and court Washington

KMT headquarters.

KMT headquarters. (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An international relations expert has been tasked with overseeing the re-establishment of a representative office for the opposition party of Kuomintang (KMT) in the U.S.

The main opposition party in Taiwan announced Tuesday (Oct. 19) that Eric Huang (黃裕鈞), adjunct instructor at Tamkang University’s Department of Diplomacy and International Relations, will assume the role as the deputy director of the party’s Department of International Affairs. He will play a key role in the preparatory work for the set-up of the office.

Huang had served as a spokesperson for the KMT and accompanied Eric Chu (朱立倫), the party’s chairman sworn in earlier this month, in previous visits to the U.S. Reinstating the unit was part of Chu’s platform when he campaigned for the leadership.

The office will be staffed with permanent personnel and headed by “heavyweight” envoys in a bid to better engage with Washington, KMT told CNA.

KMT had run an office in the U.S., which ceased operations in 2009 after former chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) won the presidential election in 2008. The international arm has not been reinstated since the KMT lost power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2016, when Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won a landslide victory.

Chu’s ambition to court Washington while cozying up with Beijing may be a waste of effort, according to DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲). “You can’t have the cake and eat it too,” said Lin, adding the KMT must establish boundaries with China if it wishes to get closer to the U.S.