China has indicated that it would like the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to host this year’s KMT-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum in Taiwan, but the KMT has declined on the grounds that the timing is too sensitive, according to sources inside the party.
The Cross-Straits Economic Trade and Culture Forum has been hosted seven times, always in China, since its inception in 2006, and has played a major role as a platform for dialogue between KMT and CCP leaders.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008, both parties have said they would like to host the forum in Taiwan, but that wish has yet to be realized.
Since the Ma administration came to power, it has sought to refer to the get-together as a “cross-strait forum” rather than a KMT-CCP forum.
According to sources, this year’s forum was scheduled for the summer and the CCP was “very much” hoping that it would be hosted in Taiwan. At the same time, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Wang Yi (王毅) has said that he would like to visit Taiwan
In the past, the highest-ranking Chinese official to attend the KMT-CCP forum has been the chairman of its top political advisory body — the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Wang and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) have also attended.
If the forum was held in Taiwan and the same rules were -applied, that would mean National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林) and Wang would attend, which would make it a major cross-strait event.
Noting Jia’s high rank in the CCP, the sources said he would be highly unlikely to come if the forum was held in Taiwan, but added that Wang would probably attend.
However, the sources also said that the Ma administration was sensitive to the idea of senior -Chinese officials visiting Taiwan and was therefore inclined to decline the offer to host the forum.
With Ma’s presidential inauguration on May 20, the CCP’s 18th Party Congress slated to take place in the autumn and another scheduled meeting between Chen and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), the source said it was a difficult time for the KMT to host the forum in Taiwan.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer