Ma urges other parties to attend forum

ALL WELCOME: Taiwan*s delegation to the KMT-CCP forum in Hunan Province will include former DPP legislator Hsu Jung-shu and party member Fan Chen-tsung

By MO YAN-CHIH  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (堜褙朐) urged members of all political parties to attend this weekend*s forum between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The official title of the ※KMT-CCP forum§ should be ※a cross-strait economic and cultural forum§ and other political parties should seize the opportunity to discuss cross-strait policies at the event, Ma said.

※The forum is co-hosted by the KMT and the CCP, but it should be called a cross-strait forum. Participation is not limited to KMT and CCP members,§ Ma said at a Presidential Office meeting with KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (趠詍磡) and the delegation heading to the forum this weekend.

Commenting on a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regulation passed on Wednesday that bars party members who have served as party or elected officials from participating in the forum, Ma said members from other political parties should also participate in cross-strait exchanges to have a better understanding of China.

※The cross-strait policy will not have enough strength and representation if only the KMT is participating in the establishment of the policy,§ Ma said.

The ※KMT-CPP forum§ was initiated in 2005 by former KMT chairman Lien Chan (盓霝) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (?党啈) in his capacity as CCP general-secretary during a visit by Lien to Beijing. The forums are aimed at promoting cross-strait economic and trade cooperation. The first meeting was held in Beijing in 2006.

Taiwan*s delegation to the forum this year, which will be held tomorrow and on Sunday in Hunan Province, will include about 270 people, including former DPP legislator Hsu Jung-shu (�?Q) and former Council of Agriculture minister Fan Chen-tsung (跜藙賾), who is a DPP member.

Ma said he was glad to see DPP members participate and expected the forum to attract more people from diverse backgrounds.

Wu said KMT members only accounted for about 25 percent of the delegation, which includes people from cultural, educational and financial fields, as well as college students.

※The KMT keeps an open mind about the forum and welcomes people from all fields to join the forum,§ he said.

Ma said the forum would focus on cultural and educational issues, including intellectual property rights for cultural products. He also expressed his desire for Chinese to learn traditional Chinese characters.

KMT Deputy Secretary-General Chang Jung-kung (翴蝝剉) said Vice Minister of Education Lu Mu-lin (涬椋釸), Council for Cultural Affairs Vice Chairman Chang Yui-tan (翴誺崌) and vice minister of the Government Information Office George Hsu (?灊?) would participate in the forum as ※special guests.§

Hsu yesterday said he had accepted an invitation from the KMT to attend the forum as the issues to be discussed at the symposium were related to his work.

Hsu said he would attend the forum in a private capacity.

※It*s a rare opportunity to attend the forum. I hope I can collect useful information on cultural affairs [in China],§ he said.

GIO Minister Su Jun-pin (憀鵙瑐) said he was happy to see Hsu attend the forum and hoped the information concerning films, TV and popular music in China that Hsu would collect would benefit the development of related industries in Taiwan.

OBJECTION

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (珂錂), however, objected to government officials attending the forum.

※The KMT-CCP forum is between the two parties. Given the need to separate the party*s affairs from the government*s, I believe it is inappropriate for government officials to take part in the forum,§ Chiu told reporters at the legislature.

Chiu said that communication between Taiwanese and Chinese officials should take place at negotiations between the semi-〝official Straits Exchange Foundation and China*s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (趠蹀蒺), on the other hand, said there was nothing untoward about the officials attending the forum as long as the schedule was transparent.

Meanwhile, DPP legislators Yeh Yin-jin (蝔錥藸) and Huang Wei-che (?糗蠖) expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the forum.

They said that any actions related to China should be carefully and critically examined to ensure that they do not jeopardize Taiwan*s stability and national dignity.

At a separate setting yesterday, the DPP said that it would not go easy on party members attending the event, and that violators would be subject to disciplinary action.

UNIFICATION STRATEGY

Acting DPP spokesman Chao Tien-lin (謯蘢釴) said the party*s opposition to the forum was clear and that the meeting was nothing short of a unification strategy.

※Any member should understand this, especially senior members,§ Chao said, referring to Hsu Jung-shu and Fan.

Hsu Jung-shu and Fan both stressed that their plans remained unchanged.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan, Flora Wang and Jenny W. Hsu