Wed, Feb 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT-CCP forum planned for April

WHITHER WU?A spokesman said the KMT is making plans for the forum based on Wu Den-yih attending, but he needs the government’s permission to travel abroad

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The annual cross-strait Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) economic forum has been scheduled for April in China, a KMT spokesman said yesterday.

The forum is to focus on issues concerning China-based Taiwanese businesspeople, as well as Chinese tourists and students visiting Taiwan, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said.

There is no word yet on whether KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) plans to attend the forum, which would be his first since he became chairman in August last year.

Article 26 of the 2003 Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) stipulates that former presidents, premiers, government ministers and other officials with high levels of security clearance must apply for permission to travel overseas for the first three years after leaving office.

Since stepping down as vice president in May 2016, Wu has been given permission to visit the US, Japan and the Philippines.

If Wu decides to attend the forum, the KMT will submit a travel request to the government, Hung said.

Asked if Wu has made a decision, Hung did not respond directly, saying only that the KMT’s planning was based on the assumption that he would go.

However, he said that the uncertainty was mostly due to the requirement for government approval.

The online news platform Up Media reported on Monday that due to the anticipated difficulty in securing the government’s approval, KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was likely to be the top KMT representative at this year’s forum.

As for the possibility of Wu meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) if he does go — which would be a first for the pair — Hung said the KMT has been communicating with Beijing and that the party would let the public know if such a meeting is to take place.

The KMT-CCP get-togethers began in 2006, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in power, and a year after former vice president and then-KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) visited China in April 2005.

They were called the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum up until November 2016, when then-KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) changed the name to the Cross-Strait Peaceful Development Forum “in response to the new situations across the Taiwan Strait.”

There have never been a set month or venue for forums to be held in their 12-year history, with dates ranging from April, May, July or October (two times each), November and December (once each), although they have always been held in China.

No forum was held in 2014, when Taiwan was preparing for its first nine-in-one local elections at the end of November, and last year, presumably due to the CCP’s 19th National Congress in late October.

Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said a travel application from Wu for a trip to China would be evaluated like any other such request based on the planned destination and the level of confidential documents the applicant had access to while in office.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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