Sun, Nov 04, 2007 - Page 3 News List

ANALYSIS: KMT's new draft mission angers deep-blue faction

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

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 (施正鋒), a professor of public administration at Tamkang University.

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 (蘇起) admitted that he invented the term "1992 consensus" in 2000.

Ma and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said they had not been informed that the guidelines would be removed from the mission statement and insisted that the party was still committed to its principles. However, former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and deep-blue party members accused Ma and the KMT of abandoning their beliefs for election purposes.

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 (顧忠華), a political analyst and sociology professor at National Chengchi University, shared Lien's doubts on the impact the move will have on undecided voters, warning that it could instead lose Ma votes from deep-blue supporters.

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