Fri, May 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT candidates spar on cross-strait ties in debate

By Shih Hsiao-kuan, Cheng Hung-ta and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Former vice president Wu Den-yih, right, speaks at a news conference after a televised debate with other Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson candidates on Wednesday in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) six chairperson candidates on Wednesday crossed swords over the party’s direction on cross-strait ties during a live CtiTV debate ahead of the election on May 20.

KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former KMT vice chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) said the party should push for a peace agreement with China, while KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) demurred by saying such an agreement would not be realistic.

Former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) expressed support for former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) framework for ties: the so-called “1992 consensus” of “one China, different interpretations” and the “three noes” — no discussion of unification, no pursuit of de jure independence and no use of force.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted to making up the term in 2000.

The candidates’ remarks were in response to the debate moderator’s question on how they would respond if the Chinese government decided to accommodate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in a new diplomatic framework.

Hung said there is no chance the DPP administration would compromise with the CCP.

In the event the DPP and CCP reach an accommodation, Hung said that in September last year she ordered that “peace under the framework of the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution” be placed on the party’s platform, which could counter the DPP’s pro-independence platform.

Only the KMT can end hostilities across the Taiwan Strait and initiate a peaceful relationship with China, she said.

Hau, a former Taipei mayor, said that the KMT needs consensus from both within the party and the public to move forward, adding that the party “cannot afford recklessness on cross-strait issues.”

He slammed Hung’s “one China, same interpretation” formula, saying: “How likely is it for [Beijing] to accept the ROC as the ‘one China?’”

“It would be impossible for any cross-strait peace agreement to be signed,” Hau added.

As cross-strait policy is the KMT’s strong suit, the party should not change things without good reason or raise controversial issues related to it, he said.

Chan, a supporter of Hung’s “peace platform” that was passed by the KMT congress in September last year, said Ma’s “one China, different interpretations” framework should not be considered unchangeable.

Cross-strait and international relations are parts of a dynamic equilibrium, and Taiwan must continue to promote peace and stability on that basis, Chan said, adding that pushing for a cross-strait peace agreement “is a worthy goal,” despite short-term difficulties.

Wu said the “1992 consensus” is a commitment to the “one China” principle, which was the foundation of peace and stability during the Ma administration.

The pillar of cross-strait ties is the “three noes” under the framework of the ROC Constitution, he said.

“I believe in peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait and I am opposed to [formal] Taiwanese independence, as well as unification with China, at the current stage,” Wu said. “Only with changed circumstances and in the fullness of time will there be an opportunity for a so-called cross-strait peace agreement.”

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