Taiwan opposition party head says party is pro-US

The head of Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang, says his party has always been a pro-US party.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu has been visiting the United States since last Thursday. He gave a speech in Washington on Monday.

Chu said, "We are mislabeled by some people or some media saying we are a pro-China party. It's totally wrong." He noted that the party has been close to the US, pro-democracy and pro-peace since it was founded. He insisted the party's stance never wavers, regardless of whether it is in power or in opposition.

Chu said that his party will work to stabilize cross-strait relations with China, reduce threats and help manage crises by maintaining "principled engagement" with Beijing.

The remark appears to be aimed at distinguishing the party from Taiwan's incumbent government, which is led by the Democratic Progressive Party. Unlike the incumbent government, the Kuomintang has engaged in cross-strait dialogue. The remark also seems to be aimed at eliminating the impression that the party is excessively conciliatory toward China.

Chu added that Taiwan needs to boost its defense capabilities. That position is apparently in line with the US stance.

He also noted in the speech that his party will reopen its office in the US for the first time in 14 years on Wednesday.

Observers say Chu's visit appears to be aimed at restoring US confidence in the KMT, which could help the party win back power in a future election.

As China has continued to put pressure on Taiwan, and tension between Beijing and Washington has continued to rise, the perception that the KMT is pro-China has made it difficult for the party to gain in popularity.