Posted by Chung Lihua, Peng Wan Hsien and Lin Xianan / Reporters from Staff
The Chinese National Party’s congress proposed, Thursday and yesterday, to freeze part of the entertainment expenses of Taiwan envoys in the United States and the Czech Republic, which sparked criticism.
The legislative yuan is reviewing the budget accounts for the executive yuan, with 3,662 proposals – including 2,855 submitted by the KMT – pending talks between parties before the interim meeting ends next week.
The Kuomintang group proposed to freeze Hsiao Bi-Kim with 30 percent of the US entertainment budget, saying the proposal came in response to its alleged claim that the US refused to sell smart mines to Taiwan.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Hsiao denied last year that he would say so, saying he was only discussing with the United States how mines could deter attacks, while the KMT said they had undermined confidence in Taiwan and the United States.
Xin Xin Yi (沈 建 億), director of the group’s policy coordination division, said her total budget for entertainment was kept secret, but the KMT’s proposal required her to inform the Legislative Council of her expenditures.
Numerous online comments criticized the party for the proposal after Hsiao was formally invited to the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, the first such invitation since Washington cut ties with Taipei in 1979.
Jerry Liu (), director of the party’s international relations division and former State Department official, wrote on Facebook that the party meeting was flustered and angry.
He wrote that entertainment expenses are a “guide” for foreign diplomats and are not spent only on wine and steak.
The Senate Committee also proposed cutting the entertainment budget for Prague actor Ki Liang Roy (柯良叡) by one to twelve, citing Czech Senate President Milos Westersell’s refusal to support Taiwan’s sovereignty and controversy over a local company donating five masks to production lines.
Relations between Taipei and Prague improved dramatically last year, especially after Westersell led an 89-member delegation to Taiwan and addressed the legislature.
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said it is not uncommon for lawmakers to freeze budget accounts until officials make clear their use.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged the support of the diplomats, although she did not directly address the issue of the budget freeze.
Tsai featured on Facebook the achievements of Hsiaa and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳 釗 燮), who attended the opening of the Palau Surangel Wipes on Thursday.
She added that the European Parliament has taken three decisions in favor of improving relations with Taiwan.
“When diplomats take every opportunity to speak on behalf of Taiwan, people at home should stay united and help each other,” she said.
In this way, she said, Taiwan can definitely overcome many challenges and continue to contribute to the world.
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