In the face of Chinese efforts to increase the pace at which cross-strait issues advance to political dialogue in the upcoming forum between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the KMT seems uninterested and is wont to follow its “economics first, politics later” policy for dealing with China.
Since the platform’s inception in 2006, the event has always been held in China, with this year’s event hosted by Nanning City, Guanxi Province. It will also be the first forum since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took office.
The meeting this year will focus on cross-strait cooperation in economy, technology, culture and education.
However, sources within the KMT said that from recent comments made by Xi and Taiwan Affair Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), the Chinese seem intent on accelerating political dialogue.
The sources said that since President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election in January last year, the Chinese government has been gradually leaning on Taiwan and pushing for accelerated political talks.
They said the political pressure has increased since Xi took office.
In a rare fit, Xi had said during the APEC meeting early this month in Bali, Indonesia that “the political division across the Strait must eventually be resolved, we cannot keep leaving this issue to the hands of the generations to come.”
During the Cross-Strait Peace Forum held earlier this month in Shanghai, Zhang also said: “Focusing on economics while avoiding political [dialogue] would not be conducive to continued cross-strait relations.”
Sources within the KMT that are familiar with the party’s cross-strait policy said the KMT wants to maintain a low-profile and remain focused on economics and culture rather than pursue political issues.
The KMT did not wish for the forum to deviate from the pre-set “economy first, politics later” path, but also said that at last year’s forum there had been incidents when Chinese academics had challenged Ma’s “no unification” stance, as well as arguments over the Republic of China (ROC) appellation, the sources said.
Even if there were politically charged statements at this year’s forum, talk would not change the KMT’s accepted policy, the party said.
Taiwan’s delegation to the forum will be headed by Council for Economic Planning and Development Deputy Minister Hwang Wang-hsiang (黃萬翔) and Deputy Minister of Education Huang Pi-twan (黃碧端).
Hwang will give a talk at the forum on the topic of direction and strategy on promoting cross-strait economic, financial and cultural cooperation.