Thu, Oct 06, 2016 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: KMT shifting toward the middle

At an event organized by Taiwanese expatriates in the US, former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) mentioned, of his own accord, the meeting in Singapore between former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jin-ping (習近平). At the meeting, in front the media, Ma talked about the idea of “one China,” but left out the phrase “with each side having its own interpretation.”

According to Wu, by leaving out the last part of his cross-strait principle, Ma should have “had points deducted.”

The subtle comment has received support from the likes of former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村). The fact that Wu, one of the leading figures of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), publicly commented on the meeting at this point in time is significant — not only for the KMT, a party in serious decline, but also for its rival, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and indeed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is still struggling to work with the DPP.

Despite Wu’s deliberate obtuseness, his message carries a significance worth celebrating. It is the first criticism from within the KMT over Ma’s simplification of the “1992 consensus.”

Considering that the KMT under Chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) has adopted new policy platforms advocating the signing of a peace pact with China, Wu’s comment made clear that certain members of the party do not want to be associated with such a stance — and not necessarily out of a desire to compete with Hung.

The KMT rarely states its stance on cross-strait issues in direct terms, but this time, Wu and others are suggesting that there is a definitive difference between “one China, with each side having its own interpretation” and only “one China.” Traditionally, the KMT has interpreted “one China” as the Republic of China (ROC).

While many Taiwanese find that to be slightly out of touch with reality, it is nonetheless a different stance from that of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which considers itself to be the only China. The KMT still openly defies the “one China” principle as formulated and held to by the PRC.

If Ma, near the end of his presidency, was steering the country toward eventual unification with China, Hung has pushed for the same goal with even more vigor.

However, with another KMT chairperson election scheduled for next year, many members are trying to redirect the party to its original goal of safeguarding the ROC as the one and only China, believing such a change is essential for its survival.

Recent changes within the KMT show politicians need to follow public opinion and evolve so that they are in touch with the electorate, or they are voted out. Smart politicians are always aware of this.

Whether one can garner public support depends on the kind of platforms one decides to embrace, which should be a choice made based on reason and rationality.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Taiwan cannot participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) because it is not a nation. Its failure to recognize several recent developments in Taiwan could eventually result in the two nations going their separate ways.

First, in order to mislead Taiwanese into believing that the DPP should be held responsible for the nation’s exclusion from the ICAO Assembly, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) organized a meeting with eight city and county leaders from Taiwan who support the so-called “1992 consensus.” Such a tactic, designed to divide Taiwanese opinion, has failed, as the KMT ceased to cooperate.

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