Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) marked Youth Day yesterday by climbing Tatunshan in suburban Taipei with a group of students, where he outlined his vision for Taiwan, in particular the country's relations with China.
Wang appealed for peace between Taiwan and China in light of recent cross-strait tensions, and he unveiled his intention to invite Wu Bangguo (吳邦國), chairman of the Standing Committee under the China's National People's Congress to visit Taiwan.
"Now that our people have gone to the mainland for a visit, it is time for theirs to come to Taiwan," Wang said, referring to a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) delegation led by party Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) that headed to China on Monday.
Chiang's trip to China is widely believed to clear the way for a planned China visit by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in June. Lien is slated to step down from the party's top post in August.
The time is right for the legislature to invite Wu to Taiwan to help promote sound exchanges and usher in peace across the Taiwan Strait, Wang said.
Pointing out that a legislative task force is also expected to be set up soon to help the government address the fragile cross-strait situation, he said that the Legislative Yuan would also consider sending a mission to visit China.
Asked if he himself would be willing to visit China, Wang made it clear that he would only do so under the principles of parity and reciprocity and when the time is ripe and with the approval of the Taiwanese people.
He called on the government to step up exchanges among students across the Taiwan Strait and suggested academic accreditation between the two sides given that more and more Taiwanese students are heading to China to study.
Stressing that Youth Day is a time to remember the young people that sacrificed their lives to help found the Republic of China in the party's uprising against the Qing Dynasty -- China's last empire -- Wang also urged visionary young people to join the KMT at a time when it needs new blood for reform and to propel the nation forward.
Wang's visit to Tatunshan with students was seen by some as a move to prop up backing for his bid for the KMT chairmanship against Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).