The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) recent move to remove the "1992 consensus" and National Unification Guidelines from its mission statement next year has drawn sharp criticism from deep-blue supporters.
Although the mission statement does not necessarily reflect a change in KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) political stance on cross-strait issues, it has nonetheless triggered speculation about Ma's position and sparked tensions between the party's various factions, analysts said.
"Ma had hoped to cozy up with the party's localization faction and attract swing voters with his `de-unification' rhetoric. But instead, [the change] triggered opposition from deep-blue members. It may also trigger a split in the party," said Shih Cheng-feng (
The KMT Central Standing Committee on Wednesday approved a draft mission statement for next year that did not mention the National Unification Guidelines and what the party calls the "1992 consensus."
The KMT says that, at landmark talks held between Taipei and Beijing in Hong Kong in 1992, the two sides reached a consensus to respect each other's interpretations of the "one China" principle. Beijing says that was not agreed upon. In February last year, KMT Legislator Su Chi (
Ma and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (
Shih said it was understandable that Ma sought to win new supporters by adopting a moderate stance on cross-strait issues, but the strong resistance from the deep-blue supporters has revealed the difficulty he faces in trying to stake out a path different to Lien's regarding cross-strait issues.
Lien has said that the National Unification Guidelines and the "1992 consensus" should remain the basis for all formal contact and negotiations with China.
Ma, seeking to win over undecided voters, has turned increasingly to pro-localization rhetoric.
In addition to calling independence an option for Taiwan during his visit to Europe last year, Ma pushed for the KMT to include Taiwan-centric guidelines and remove the word "unification" from party regulations earlier this year.
"The KMT should prioritize Taiwan and focus on promoting policies that will benefit the public. We should defend the Republic of China and at the same time embrace Taiwan," Ma said at the time.
Unhappy with the removal of the guidelines and "consensus" from the party's mission statement for next year, Lien condemned Ma and the party for following the steps of the Democratic Progressive Party by changing its stance to win the elections.
"It's wishful thinking to believe that deleting the 1992 consensus is equivalent to localization and will attract support from swing voters. The move will only hurt the feelings of all pan-blue supporters," Lien said on Thursday.
Ku Chung-hwa (