It is no small irony that the visit last week of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would bring to the fore a potentially damaging rift within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
No sooner had Chen returned to China than the party’s old guard — personified by former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) — accused the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of mishandling a decision to avoid holding major banquets for Chen.
Then a newspaper alleged that SEF officials had referred to Chen as a “C-list” politician whom “A-listers” Soong, Lien and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) had desperately sought to meet. SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) denied such a comment had been made, but the damage was done.
Without going into the ludicrousness of anyone considering Lien and Soong to be “A-listers,” it was clear that subterranean animosity in the pan-blue camp, hitherto mostly manifested in body language, was coming to the fore.
Soong, a Mainlander conservative who has long sought, though never entirely successfully, to dispel his image as someone who would sell out Taiwan because of his pro-unification views, was now accusing the SEF and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of failing to consult opposition parties — the irony of Soong championing “the opposition” being totally lost on him — over their cross-strait policies. He also did not take too kindly to seeing his request to meet Chen turned down by the SEF and the MAC, nor even Ma’s decision to bar Lien from hosting a banquet in Chen’s honor.
It’s hard to tell whether Soong’s accusations resulted from an injured ego, or whether he was referring to the PFP when he claimed that Ma and the government had failed to consult “the opposition,” but one thing is certain: There’s a rift within the pan-blue camp, and it will only widen the closer we get to cross-strait dialogue on political matters.
This fissiparousness holds opportunities and dangers. It could give the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) an opportunity for a wedge — perhaps by allying itself with less conservative elements in the pan-blue camp — and help shape the cross-strait dialogue in a way that is more favorable to Taiwan. Or it could be part of Beijing’s plan to divide Taiwan’s political landscape until the latter is unable to present a united front of any description.
DPP supporters who think in terms of the next elections may delight in apparent struggles within the KMT, but this is shortsighted, as the nation stands to gain nothing from weakness when it comes to cross-strait negotiations.
How apt it is that these signs of a deep KMT split would occur just as archeologists in China claim to have discovered the tomb of infamous third-century Chinese general Cao Cao (曹操), who more than anyone understood the value of shifting alliances and the opportunities created by disunity in the enemy camp.
Just like the cunning warlord, Beijing is unlike its opponents in its steadfastness of purpose and unflagging desire to seize its objective. It will exploit greed, pride and weakness in others, turn foe against foe, make temporary alliances and be unsparing in pursuit of its objectives.
If we only learn one thing from Cao Cao, it is that disunity in the face of a threat is nothing to savor. If all it takes to split this nation is a “C-list” envoy like Chen, then there isn’t much hope for survival.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday last week, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) wrote: “The KMT must fall for Taiwan to improve.’ Allow me to ask the question again: Is this really true?” It matters not how many times Hsu asks the question, my answer will always be the same: “Yes, the KMT must be toppled for Taiwan to improve.” In the lengthy Facebook post, titled “What were those born in the 1980s guilty of?” Hsu harked back to the idealistic aspirations of the 2014 Sunflower movement before heaping opprobrium on the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP)
Some people are saying the weather has been wonderful this year. That depends on how one defines wonderful weather. The Ministry of Economic Affairs last week announced that the alert level for Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung areas are to be raised from green to yellow, and that water pressure is to be reduced at night. Few households with water tower storage facilities would have noticed any restrictions on their supply, but people concerned with the water situation have been aware for some time that the lack of typhoons this year, coupled with low rainfall, has meant that in the
Although China’s “reform and opening up” has become an empty slogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) still put on a show by touring southern China to mark the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone’s establishment. His motive was not to regain the international community’s trust, but to shore up his power in China. Externally, it was a response to diplomatic setbacks, and it even revealed his adventurist attitude of not being afraid to go to war. When former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) in 1992 conducted similar inspections, it was to suppress the “leftist wind” that was interfering with his
An increasing number of cafes and other businesses in Taiwan are keeping animals, which draw in people who are seeking the next perfect shot for their Instagram accounts. In the past these were mostly standard house pets, such as cats and dogs, which are accustomed to living indoors and being around people. However, raccoons have become popular, as well as alpacas and other “unusual” animals that require specialty care and specific environments to thrive. In late June, a customer recorded a video of the owner of a coffee shop in Taipei apparently unleashing a border collie on a raccoon, who was the star