Thu, Nov 03, 2016 - Page 1 News List

KMT-CCP Beijing ‘peace’ forum begins

INTERACTION:The goal of the forum is to reduce the negative effects and damage caused to cross-strait relations by President Tsai Ing-wen, the KMT’s Alex Tsai said

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu, right, yesterday addresses Taiwanese businesspeople and students at a seminar at the Beijing Hotel in China.

Photo: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) annual forum with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began yesterday in Beijing and a new panel — the political panel — was created to “explore possibilities for cross-strait political talks,” KMT Vice Chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) said.

At the opening ceremony, Chan said the forum has taken place since 2006 and during those years “the KMT had been in opposition, became the ruling party [in 2008] and has now again become the opposition.”

“Looking back on the 10-year history of the forum, we see that the resolutions made in the past have been adopted by the governments in each side of the Taiwan Strait and turned into policies that greatly benefited the people,” he said.

Chan said that government officials of both sides had participated in the forum over the past eight years to discuss possible policies, which was “a rare page in history.”

“That page has been brought to a temporary end and it is widely known that the cause is the denying of the ‘1992 consensus’ as a political foundation” by the Democratic Progressive Party government, he said.

As the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have experienced “more than 60 years of institutional, military and diplomatic differences, it takes time and wisdom to discuss fusing this half-century gap and that is why a new panel — the political panel — has been added to this year’s forum,” he said.

He said that while many Taiwanese political pundits have expressed doubts about holding this year’s forum, “the KMT knows that there cannot be a lack of communication across the Strait, as prosperity has only been possible in the past eight years after the KMT decided in 2005 [to hold talks with Beijing] after witnessing the cross-strait stalemate caused by [then-president] Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration.”

This year’s forum includes five panels — political, economic, cultural, social and youth.

This year the “cross-strait economic, trade and cultural forum,” has been renamed the “cross-strait peaceful development forum.”

The change is believed to have been decided by KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) to advance her “peace party platform,” which was passed by the party’s national congress in September and has since spawned controversy within the KMT as it calls for a peace agreement with China.

KMT Policy Committee executive director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said that the party is not looking to replace the Straits Exchange Foundation, as it is an agency of public authority, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported.

The KMT, working as a non-governmental organization, is constructing a KMT-CCP communication mechanism, which would not affect cross-strait dialogue at the official level, he added.

“The KMT’s and Hung’s goal is to reduce the negative effects and damage caused by [President] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to a minimum,” Alex Tsai said.

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