ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Protesters greet Ma Ying-jeou in New York
Publication Date : 13-08-2013
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was heckled by protesters when checking into a hotel in New York on Sunday during a transit stop en route to a diplomatic tour of Paraguay and Taiwan's four Caribbean allies.
The hotel had hung up national flags including that of Taiwan, and many Taiwanese expatriates had gathered to welcome Ma upon his arrival.
One Taiwanese expatriate, however, began shouting at Ma to resign and was immediately handcuffed by special agents. He was freed after Ma had left the scene.
Ma only waved and smiled at the crowd when entering the hotel, not talking to any of the reporters or those in the crowd.
The president later attended a dinner party with around 300 Taiwanese expatriates at Grand Hyatt hotel near Central Station. Around 50 expatriates showed up at the hotel's entrance to protest various issues, including the demolition of four homes in Miaoli, the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the treatment of incarcerated former President Chen Shui-bian.
Ma supporters and protesters engaged in a heated exchange in front of the hotel.
In his speech at the dinner, Ma explained in detail the current political and economic situation in Taiwan. Some of those in attendance praised Ma for his efforts and said that people should encourage the president.
American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt, who greeted Ma at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said the relationship between Taiwan and the United States is improving everyday.
Burghardt said US congressmen and Taiwanese legislators have been visiting each other's countries more and more in recent years, which is proof that the bilateral relationship is built on trust that will keep growing stronger.
Not easy being president: Ang Lee
Oscar-winning director Ang Lee said Ma appeared “more sophisticated this time”, after meeting Ma in New York on Sunday.
Lee said it is probably very exhausting and tough to be a president, but that it is still nice to feel that Ma remains sincere when speaking to the public.
When asked for advice about how to rule a country, Lee said: “I do not have any advice because I am only good at making movies.”
According to Lee, he and Ma talked about their families for about 10 minutes and then he gave the president a Life of Pi jacket to show his appreciation of Ma's support for the movie. Lee said Ma also gave him a gift in return, but that he has not opened it yet.
Lee said that the last time they met, Ma told him that he thoroughly enjoyed his Oscar-winning movie Brokeback Mountain. Ma also said he liked Lee's latest movie, Life of Pi, the director said.