TAIPEI - The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) distorted the message carried in a Kuomintang (KMT) campaign ad in order to provoke confrontation between Taiwan and South Korea, a ruling party spokesman claimed yesterday.
The spokesman, Chen Yi-hsin, said the KMT never meant to show South Korea any "disrespect" in the ad.
The DPP ignored the "friendship" between Taiwan and South Korea, creating controversies in order to divert the nation's attention from the main opposition party's role as a major hindrance to Taiwan's economic growth.
The KMT ad, unveiled earlier this week, shows a woman in a traditional Korean outfit ridiculing Taiwan's lack of economic vitality.
It highlights the advantages that South Korea would enjoy because of the free trade agreement (FTA) that Seoul and Beijing have recently signed. It claims that South Korea has defeated Taiwan in the economic race.
South Korea's Newsis news agency later carried a story about the ad. Some Taiwan media claimed that the Newsis report described the KMT ad as "anti-Korean."
But the KMT spokesman said the party had studied the Newsis report carefully, and found that it did not say the ad was "bad-mouthing" South Korea, or "anti-Korean."
"There is nothing whatsoever in the ad that disparages Korea," said Chen.
He said the ad "precisely" points out why Taiwan is lagging behind South Korea economically.
Both Taiwan and South Korea have been engaged in keen competition against each other in international trade, and both countries' exports go mostly to the United States, Europe, Japan and China, Chen noted.
He said that of Korea's and Taiwan's exports to China, more than 70 per cent of them target the same market segments.
But Taiwan has been lagging behind South Korea in signing FTA with their major markets because the DPP has been blocking Taiwan's economic liberalization.
He was referring to DPP lawmakers' efforts to block the passage of the Cross-strait Trade in Service Agreement that Taipei and Beijing have already signed.
Chen said the DPP has avoided directly addressing the crisis facing Taiwan because of the Seoul-Beijing FTA, adding the main opposition party is the "biggest problem" for Taiwan's economy.
The KMT spokesman also demanded independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je clearly state his stance concerning cross-strait trade pacts.
He asked whether Taipei City government would be a leader in a campaign against cross-strait trade pacts if Ko was elected mayor.