Taiwan Kuomintang presidential candidate starts week-long US visit

The presidential candidate of Taiwan's largest opposition party, the Kuomintang, Hou Yu-ih, has left for the United States on a week-long visit.

Hou is the mayor of New Taipei City, which has the largest number of voters in Taiwan. In the presidential election in January next year, the Kuomintang aims to regain power for the first time in 8 years.

Hou is scheduled to visit New York, Washington, San Francisco and other places during his week-long stay through September 21. He is expected to hold meetings with members of the US Congress, give a speech at a think tank, and meet Taiwanese people who live in the US.

Before flying off from Taiwan on Thursday, he expressed hope that his visit will help further increase the US interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan's relations with China are expected to be one of the biggest issues in the presidential election.

During his US visit, Hou is expected to explain to US officials his stance that Taiwan should be able to maintain deterrence by increasing defense capabilities at the same time as pursuing dialogue to ease tensions.

Presidential hopefuls in Taiwan often make a point of visiting the US in the hope of building their credentials as a candidate with US backing.

The candidate from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Lai Ching-te, made a stopover in the US in August during his official visit to Latin America as Vice President.

Ko Wen-je, the candidate of the opposition Taiwan People's Party, visited the US this summer, as did independent candidate Terry Gou, the founder of Hon Hai Precision Industry.