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September 21, 2017

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Board member's comments on protests are his own opinion: AIT

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- American Institute in Taiwan (AIT, 美國在台協會) spokesperson Mark Zimmer yesterday stated that recent opinions on the ongoing student protests expressed by its Board of Trustee member David Brown were made in his own capacity and were not representative of the AIT.

David Brown, an expert in cross-strait relations and a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University last Friday responded to an open letter by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), and condemned the ongoing student protest as illegal actions that would not be condoned in the U.S. In addition, Brown stated that the disruptive tactics employed by the opposition party were undemocratic.

Zimmer yesterday emphasized that the opinions expressed were the personal views of Brown, and that the U.S. and the AIT remains supportive of Taiwan's thriving democratic development, while urging for more productive dialogue among rivaling opinions. According to Zimmer, the current dissent over the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement must be resolved by the people of Taiwan, hopefully under peaceful and civil dialogue.

Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP's Policy Research Committee, stated that he is baffled by Brown's disapproval of the student protests and urged him to gather information and understand the opinions of the people, and gain a sense of their disappointment at the performance of the President Ma Ying-jeou, as demonstrated by the 500,000 people who had took part in last Sunday's demonstration.

In addition, high ranking leaders of the DPP stated that Brown's published criticism of their party and the student movement is reminiscent of similar opinions voiced by U.S. government officials three years ago during the presidential election, which were considered part of the ruling party's campaign tactics. According to the DPP, Brown's comments are similar those made previously by King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), Taiwan's former top envoy to the U.S., who was sworn in earlier this year as Ma's new chief security adviser.

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