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King Pu-tsung tries to stay ‘on topic’ before legislators
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-06 03:16 PM
King Pu-tsung, the ROC's de facto representative to the US, was peppered with questions about the reasons for his return to Taiwan in December during an appearance before the National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan Monday. Each time he was asked whether he had come back to discuss changing job titles to act as Secretary General of the National Security Council or as Deputy Premier, or whether he had come back to issue an apology to Wang Jin-pyng, King came back with "Members of the Legislative Yuan, I am here to report on relations with the United States.”

The committee had originally scheduled a session with King at the end of December last year, but he returned unexpectedly during the early part of the month. Then, pleading that he had urgent business in the US, he returned to Washington without appearing before the committee, triggering speculation and debate about why he had make a surprise visit to Taiwan. In preparation for Monday’s appearance, the KMT caucus worked up a list of KMT legislators who were allowed to question King first in order to shield the representative against opposition legislators.

King eventually fielded a question from DPP legislator Chiu Yi-ying about his sudden return to Taiwan in early December. King said he came back December 6 in connection with a project between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US.

Chiu noted that the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, had scheduled a stop in Taiwan as part of a trip to China but then abruptly canceled the side trip to Taiwan after word of the planned visit was leaked by someone in the Foreign Ministry.

Chiu asked whether King’s return to Taiwan was related to McCarthy’s travel plans, and King issued a denied: "It wasn’t like that. The EPA Administrator’s visit to Taiwan and my return just happened to overlap… This kind of arrangement doesn’t need any special input from me."

DPP Tsai Huang-lang then stepped up and said King Pu-tsung was trying to use slick martial arts techniques and humor in evading questions. Tsai said the Legislative Yuan was after the real truth. He asked if King had come back to rescue Ma Ying-jeou by taking on the job of Secretary General of the National Security Council or Vice premier. King continued to ignore the line of questioning, saying nine times in a row, "Members of the Legislative Yuan, I am here to report on relations with the US," and refusing to respond to further questioning.

Tsai also asked about the case involving Chief Prosecutor Huang Shih-ming, noting that on the day that Huang was indicted by the Control Yuan, King was offering him recognition and support in the US. Tsai said that President Ma had wanted the ruling and opposition parties to reconcile their differences and quipped, "I'll give you two seconds to apologize to Wang Jin-pyng," drawing another repeated “Members of the Legislative Yuan…” from the representative.

Tsai said King’s repeated defenses were like pop singer Jeannie Hsieh’s song about a “Broken Record”.

DPP legislator Opal Chen mentioned a statement made by the Chinese Ambassador to the US, Cui Tienkai, on the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US. Cui held a press conference in which he said China’s relationship with Taiwan is the most critical issue in Sino-US relations because it involves the issue of reunification of China's territory. Chen asked King whether he had refuted Cui’s comment.

King said that as the ROC representative to the US, he publicly welcomed the US to comply with the Taiwan Relations Act, but added that "It is not my place to tell the United States how to interact with its allies." He also asked Chen whether she wanted him to talk about the 35 years that have passed since the US broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

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