Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Beijing setting a trap for KMT

On Monday, Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤), vice chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), led a delegation consisting of KMT legislators and party members on a mission to China.

After arriving in Guangzhou, Chiang told reporters that the primary purpose of the trip was to discuss direct links and passenger and freight services across the Taiwan Strait. He said that the results of these discussions would be passed on to the government for implementation. Another object for this delegation is to pave the way for KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) upcoming China visit in June, and to engage in the task of entering a third round of peace talks between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) -- after two ill-fated attempts in 1936 and 1945. The media regards this trip as the first official contact between the KMT and the CCP since 1949, so the political implications are perceived to be especially significant.

The arrangements for Lien's visit to China is an internal matter for the KMT. However, the delegation arrived in China two days after hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets of Taipei to protest Beijing's passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law. Therefore, the timing of the KMT's visit to China seems calculated to soothe China's embarrassment over the rally and to misdirect world opinion into believing that the people of Taiwan do not object to the law's passage. The visit has therefore drawn criticism from pan-green legislators and civic groups.

It seems that the KMT deliberately timed its visit to China for this most inappropriate time and that it has ambitions of playing the peacekeeper. Perhaps it believes that walking a political tightrope is the best way to break the deadlock in cross-strait relations. But this risky strategy could just as easily destroy the KMT altogether if it fails.

Chiang told the media that "if there is anything that the government is unwilling to do or cannot do, let the KMT, the largest opposition party in Taiwan, take over and complete the mission." Clearly, the KMT has ambitions of taking over the government's role in cross-strait relations by playing a more active part. Whether the KMT can win over the general public with its ambitions will be seen in future elections.

Beijing seeks to use the opposition to disrupt the government. Such tactics are hardly surprising. Having been defeated in two consecutive national elections, the KMT is now actively seeking to improve its relations with China. Are they really so naive that they will willingly walk into a trap laid for them by Beijing, accepting the task of helping to disrupt Taiwan's political environment? This is something that those KMT members who claim to love Taiwan should be wary of.

If we look at the results of the two previous peace talks between the Nationalists and the Communists, we can see that on both occasions the Nationalists emerged as losers, which is why Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was forced to establish himself in Taiwan. Based on what this history teaches us, Taiwanese do not have much faith in another powwow between the Nationalists and the Communists.

But if this is the path that the KMT has chosen, then they should at least take the opportunity during this visit to make Beijing understand Taiwan's opposition to the "Anti-Secession" Law. At all costs they must avoid pandering to Beijing's views, forgetting their own position as a result. Otherwise, the KMT will already have lost its self-confidence and dignity before the peace talks can even get off the ground, and they will be despised by China for allowing that to happen.

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