Kaohsiung mayor drops U.S. visit

Kaohsiung- Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (???), who is the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT's) presidential candidate, has decided not to visit the United States because of a tight itinerary ahead of the upcoming election, his campaign office said in a statement Friday.

"With a little over 80 days to go before the (Jan. 11 legislative and presidential) polls, I just don't have time to go to the U.S.," Han said following a meeting with local farmers in Pingtung as part of his presidential campaign that started from southern Taiwan earlier this week.

Han said he will certainly visit if he has time after the elections.

Meanwhile, Han's campaign office said it was mulling whether to have Han's wife, Lee Chia-fen (???), visit the U.S. on her husband's behalf to garner support from Taiwanese expats there to boost his chances in the presidential election.

Han, who took a three-month leave of absence from Oct. 16 to engage in a nationwide campaign for his presidential bid, met with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty (??) at the Kaohsiung Administrative Center in Fengshan Friday morning, canceling a half-day of his leave.

In response to Han's welcome, Moriarty said he was happy to be in Kaohsiung, which he described as a very important city.

Prior to their 50-minute closed-door meeting, Moriarty stressed that current Taiwan-U.S. relations are in their best shape since 1979, when the Taiwan Relations Act was enacted.

Han was tight-lipped when asked by reporters after the meeting whether he and Moriarty had exchanged views on his U.S. visit.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel