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AIT chairman clarifies remarks about Taiwan's new law

2017/12/15 18:52:22

Taipei, Dec. 15 (CNA) Visiting American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said Friday that remarks he made to lawmakers in Taipei earlier this week about a new law Taiwan introduced to address the legacy of the injustices of former Kuomintang (KMT) administrations have been misinterpreted.

Moriarty wanted to clarify remarks he made during a closed-door meeting Monday with Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and several lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition KMT, the AIT said on Friday.

One of the lawmakers present at the meeting told reporters that Moriarty, the top U.S. official in charge of Taiwan policy, was concerned about how the Transitional Justice Act, enacted by the Legislature Dec. 5, will be implemented, and that the new law might cause the problem of "de-sinicization."

On Friday, the AIT answered a related question from CNA via an email, in which the institute, which represents American interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal links between the two countries, delivered a statement from Moriarty saying that the chairman wanted to set the record straight about what he said regarding the law.

In the statement, Moriarty said his remarks to legislators earlier this week about the Transitional Justice Act were "mischaracterized."

"I did not express concern about the law. I did not criticize the passage or concept of the law," said Moriarty.

"Rather, I noted that I have heard from Chinese academics, officials, and others about something they call 'de-sinification' -- which is as horrible-sounding in English as it is in Chinese -- and I simply asked the legislators if this issue was considered during the Legislative Yuan debate about the Transitional Justice Act," he said.

The term "de-sinicization" defines a political and social movement aimed at eliminating Chinese influence.

Moriarty arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a week-long visit until Dec. 16. It is his third trip to the country since his appointment as AIT chairman in October 2016.

Last Tuesday, the Transitional Justice Act cleared the legislative floor. It stipulates the establishment of an ad hoc committee under the Executive Yuan to implement transitional justice measures set forth under the law.

The required measures include releasing political archives, removing authoritarian symbols and reversing miscarriages of justice during an era in which Taiwan was ruled by the KMT under martial law.

(By Elaine Hou and Elizabeth Hsu)