The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday acknowledged that it would include "Taiwan-centered" values in its soon to-be-revised party regulations, but said it would not ditch ultimate unification with China as one of the party's goals.
"The phrase `adhere to a belief that will prioritize Taiwan and benefit the people' will be added [to the party's regulations], but the basic principle of opposing independence for Taiwan remains the same," chairman of the KMT's Culture and Communications Committee Yang Tu (楊渡) said yesterday at party headquarters.
Yang made the remarks in response to a report in yesterday's Chinese-language China Times that said the party would add the term "Taiwan" and delete "unification" in its revised regulations in an attempt to broaden the party's appeal.
The KMT will revise its party regulations on June 24 during the party congress, and the changes will mark the first ever mention of "Taiwan" in the party's regulations.
Yang said the revised regulations would still hold true to the party's spirit by stating that the KMT "has been consistent in implementing democratic reform and pursuing the goals of national prosperity and ultimate unification," and denied that the revision was aimed at paving the way for localization.
He argued that the KMT would never deny the existence of the "Republic of China (ROC)," as the party founded the ROC, but added that the KMT was revising the regulations to reflect the trends of the modern era.
"Localization rhetoric does not interfere with our party regulations ? The KMT holds all the people's interests as its priority," he said.
The KMT's presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), yesterday agreed that the party should prioritize Taiwan and focus on promoting policies that would benefit the people, while denying he participated in the revision's decision-making process.
"In my opinion, we should defend the Republic of China, and at the same time embrace Taiwan," Ma said yesterday after meeting with former chairman Lien Chan (連戰).
The move was hailed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who said the move would help to boost the party's outlook for the forthcoming elections, but he added that "carrying it out with realistic actions" was more important.
KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (
"There are no conditions for [carrying out] unification or independence at the moment. So our best strategy would be to put aside the issue of unification versus independence and to put issues related to people's interests at the top of the party's list of priorities," Wu said.
Wu said that the proposal was not brought up on the spur of the moment or carried out for the sake of a specific person.
"Instead, the proposal reflects the party's platform -- to defend the Republic of China, to show its love for Taiwan and to benefit the people," Wu said.
Wu said that "localization" shouldn't be something that is monopolized by the DPP.
KMT Legislator Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) said that the party "should have done something like this a long time ago."
Some KMT lawmakers, however, disapproved of the proposal.
KMT Legislator Shuai Hua-ming (帥化民) said the change would be tantamount to replacing "Chinese" with "Taiwanese" in the party's name, which might not be acceptable to many long-term supporters of the party.
"The removal of "unification" would mean there was no difference between the KMT and the DPP. If we can't distinguish between the KMT and the DPP, how can we persuade the electorate to vote for us?" KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said.
She said that the proposal was brought up as a result of "[the party leadership's] dancing to the tune of the DPP" and that this was "unnecessary."
Pan-green politicians were also divided in their responses to the KMT's plan to revise its party charter.
Some feared that the revision would be only superficial.
"The people won't believe that the KMT will act differently if they only change words and not their mindset," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday when asked by reporters for his thoughts.
DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun expressed similar views during a press conference at DPP headquarters, saying: "The KMT has not changed inside, it's still a conservative political party that hugs a big China and upholds ultimate unification."
Taiwan Solidarity Union legislative caucus whip Yin Ling-ying (
"It's a good thing, but what's more important is a change of mindset," Yin said. "They [the KMT] need to show real action, otherwise, the change is just superficial."
Vice President Annette Lu (
"It's great ? I hope that we [the two camps] will be less at odds with each other, and that there will not be as much conflict surrounding the independence or unification issue in the 2008 [presidential] election," Lu said when approached by reporters for comment.
DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (
"[The KMT's move] shows that it is getting closer to the DPP's ideas and although some may think the revision is only being made for the purpose of winning elections, I still think we should welcome it," he said.
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