KMT chair touts renewed U.S. presence as Washington office opens

06/09/2022 01:10 PM
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Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (center)
Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (center)

Washington, June 8 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said Wednesday that the reopening of a liaison office in the United States signaled a "return" for the party's voice in Washington.

Chu, who is on an 11-day trip to the U.S., attended a plaque-unveiling ceremony to mark the official reopening of the KMT's representative office in the U.S., which is located on the top floor of an office building on 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.

The new mission, headed by the chief of the KMT's international affairs department Alexander Huang (黃介正), will work to garner support in Washington for "Taiwan, the Republic of China, and Taiwanese people," Chu said.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Chu said the KMT's "voice" had disappeared in Washington following the closure of a previous liaison office shortly after the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) became Taiwan's president in 2008.

Chu added that Taiwan needed support from the international community at a time of heightened tensions, in particular from the United States.

He later told reporters that the KMT had been a "pro-U.S., pro-democracy and pro-peace" party dedicated to defending Taiwan since its founding more than a century ago.

The KMT was established in 1894 in Hawaii as the Revive China Society, and later reconstituted as the Kuomintang in Shanghai, China in 1919. After retreating to Taiwan in 1949, the KMT-controlled government ruled the island nation under a one-party authoritarian system and imposed martial law for nearly four decades until the beginning of democratization in the late 1980s.

Chu said that the KMT had been "mislabeled" as a "pro-China" party, adding the party was opposed to China's growing military and economic pressure on Taiwan, such as increasing incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

"Any assertive maneuvers will do nothing but cause a sense of aversion among Taiwanese people," Chu said.

The chairman urged both sides of the Taiwan Strait to seek dialogue and exchanges to foster amicable relations and find common ground where differences are respected.

Also in attendance at the plaque-unveiling ceremony were Dan Biers, director of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Taiwan Coordination, Robert Wang, who served as the senior U.S. official for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum from 2013 to 2015, and David Brown, a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University specializing in China studies.

Brown said he was pleased to see the KMT establishing its presence in Washington once again, adding that the new base would make a tremendous contribution to fostering trust and cooperation between the Republic of China, which is Taiwan's formal name, and the United States.

(By Stacy Hsu and Teng Pei-ju)

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