Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tsai’s golden opportunity

The KMT is very likely shadowing the DPP candidate on her US visit, but Tsai should nevertheless avoid political bickering and instead use the occasion to show what she is capable of 

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over the weekend said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was “extending” domestic politics abroad by sending a delegation headed by King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), executive director of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign, to the US just days ahead of her long-planned trip.

While Tsai’s assessment of King’s visit was likely right on target, it nevertheless came across as somewhat childish. Yes, as the party in power, the KMT could send delegations to the US any time of the year, and yes, the timing of King’s visit is conspicuous. That being said, there is no rule that says the KMT cannot send a delegation abroad whenever DPP officials embark on a foreign trip.

Both Tsai and King, certainly not by coincidence, are scheduled to give speeches at Harvard University on Thursday. Rather than engage in recriminations and conspiracy theories, the DPP presidential candidate should instead use King’s presence to contrast her policies with those of Ma.

Her main task while in the US should not be to disparage the KMT for trying to “undermine” her visit — rhetoric that is certain to have little appeal with Taiwanese-Americans and potential supporters in academia — but rather to prove to an audience that may be a little skeptical that a new DPP administration would be one that Washington could work with.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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