DPP representative concludes successful Washington trip

Dr. Joseph Wu, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) envoy to the United States, on May 8th wrapped up a three-day visit to Washington, D.C. during which he exchanged views on recent political developments in Taiwan in a series of meetings with representatives from the U.S. administration, Congress, foreign embassies, and a broad range of policy analysts.

Speaking at a press conference at the conclusion of the trip, Representative Wu pointed out that the U.S. government has consistently taken a neutral position in their official statements with respect to the large-scale student protests that unfolded in Taiwan between mid-March to early April.  His conversations in Washington this week confirmed their understanding that these protests, as a phenomenon arising from outside of existing political parties and institutions, highlight Taiwan’s active and robust civil society and demonstrate the continued vibrancy of Taiwan’s democracy.

Wu also communicated to U.S. counterparts that the DPP’s main agenda in the near future is to address the root causes of the recent mass demonstrations and widespread discontent among Taiwan’s electorate, including ameliorating the impact of trade globalization on the employment prospects for the newest generation of workers; pushing for much-needed constitutional reforms to reduce systemic political gridlock and improve the quality of governance; and establishing mechanisms for substantive legislative oversight of cross-strait negotiations to inject transparency into the process and lessen public anxiety regarding the pace of cross-strait economic integration.

In response to comments made in Taiwan earlier in the day by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi, who alleged that the pan-green camp routinely criticizes Taiwan’s government in the course of its lobbying efforts overseas, Representative Wu emphasized that DPP has always sought to be a constructive voice in all of its outreach activities in Washington.

“From the very beginning, when I was appointed to this position, I pledged that I would not bring our domestic political disputes to Washington and that pledge remains in place — we have no interest in taking these disputes abroad.  Our objective here is to engage in discussions on substantive issues and present the DPP’s perspective of the policy options that are in the best interests of Taiwan as a whole.”

In brief remarks at a May 7th Atlantic Council conference hosted on Capitol Hill by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to commemorate the 35thanniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, Dr. Wu commented that the best way for Taiwan to express its appreciation to the United States is to stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. and other friends in the region to build the peace.

"For 35 years now, Taiwan has depended on our great friends in the United States to be the guarantor of our security.  We cannot thank this wonderful country and the leadership of people like Rep. Royce enough for this support.

“Now Taiwan needs to give back as much as possible and become an integral part in the US effort to keep the peace and prosperity of our region firmly in place.  We are committed to being such a partner – spending on a defense that deters any miscalculation by others about our resolve and abilities, as well as offering our resources to help build the emerging security and economic architecture in the region."

Representative Wu also stated that the DPP is committed to following the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with regard to Taiwan's claims over Itu Abu (Taiping Island), and that Taiwan "should not work together with China" to advance Chinese claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea territorial disputes.