Taiwanese Envoy To U.S. Grilled About Sexual Orientation, Affair With President

King Pu-tsungIt’s nice to know we’re not the only ones obsessed with who is and isn’t gay: Taiwanese lawmakers spent Wednesday afternoon grilling new envoy to the U.S. King Pu-tsung about rumors that he’s gay—and having an affair with President Ma Ying-jeou.

Going before the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee for the first time, King (right)  was hit with more questions about his admittedly close relationship with Ma than on the state of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

In response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching asking him about his sexual orientation to “give you [King] a chance to clarify the matter,” King said he respected everyone no matter their sexual orientation, but said: “I am not [gay],” and that Ma and he were not in a relationship.

King said it was “unfair” that people have claimed that his political progress has been spurred along through sexual relationships, adding that the insinuation was also insulting to homosexuals.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pasuya Yao said he cared less about King’s relationship with Ma and more about Ma’s sexual orientation, asking King to answer him, to which King replied: “It’s not a question I should answer.”

Critics have derided the “King and Ma system,” alleging 56-year-old King, a former Secretary-General of Kuomintang and Vice Mayor of Taipei, has too strong a role in shaping policy. There is also concern that King isn’t qualified to negotiate with the State Department, which may take a more pro-China stance if Sen. John Kerry replaces Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

King, who is married, brushed off gay rumors over the summer, saying “I respect each individual’s sexual orientation, but I am not ‘brokeback.’”

Photo: Rico Shen