Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: KMT lurching to the far right

This week, Taiwanese have seen yet another sign that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is heading toward the extreme right of the political spectrum, after the party on Wednesday announced that it has reached a consensus with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to switch the focus of their annual get-together from economic issues to political ones.

The forum has been in place since former KMT chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) so-called “journey of peace” to China in 2005. Although its name was changed several times — with the previous title being the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum — the forum has always remained relatively economy-oriented.

After the meeting’s name was changed to the Cross-Strait Peaceful Development Forum, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) plans for the KMT became more apparent: Moving the party closer to her ultimate goal of unification with China and making cross-strait interactions exclusively between the KMT and CCP.

On Sept. 4, with the blessing of Hung, the KMT national congress adopted a new policy platform that aims to further the so-called “1992 consensus” based on the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution and, for the first time, exploring the possibility of ending cross-strait hostility through a peace accord.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.

The platform has been a topic of heated debate within the KMT, as it mentions the “different interpretations” phrase only once and omits what the pan-blue camp has considered an integral element in the political framework in following sentences.

Although a KMT spokesman has said that the omission was made because it is given that the “1992 consensus” contains the idea of “different interpretations,” it still raised suspicions that Hung was seeking to sweep the “different interpretations” element under the rug to come to an agreement on the matter with Beijing, which has never publicly acknowledged its existence.

Also, in May last year, before Hung was replaced by then-KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) as the party’s presidential candidate, she proposed changing the “1992 consensus” into a framework of “one China, same interpretation,” which states that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are a part of a “whole China,” but have overlapping sovereignty claims and are two separate governing bodies.

It could be suspected that Hung has come to an understanding with Beijing to scrap the “different interpretations” phrase in cross-strait interactions to come up with a new or revised formula that better suits their political agendas.

By changing the nature of the forum, the KMT wants to make sure that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration are further excluded from cross-strait interactions and that it can claim ownership of cross-strait reconciliation.

However, the point the KMT is missing is that a political party cannot represent an entire nation, let alone one that saw its voter base shrink by the millions in January’s presidential election. The CCP should not think that the agreements or an understanding it might reach with the KMT would have any substantial effect in Taiwan.

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