Following the nomination of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to represent the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in next year’s presidential election, civic groups on Sunday called on the public to protect Taiwan from Beijing’s “one country, two systems” model by voting against “pro-China” presidential candidates.
Representatives of the groups issued the warning at a news conference at a venue close to New Taipei City’s Banciao Stadium, where the KMT had earlier that day held a national party congress to officially nominate Han as its candidate and deal with other party affairs.
“Han and KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) have expressed their intention to sign a cross-strait peace agreement with China, a document that would acknowledge Taiwan as being part of China and reduce its future to a domestic issue for Beijing,” Taiwan Citizen Front founder Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
Lai was referring to remarks made by Han during a joint interview he gave to Taiwan-based foreign correspondents in February, at which he said it was inevitable that Taipei would negotiate a peace agreement with Beijing.
Han’s comments came just days after Wu appeared to suggest that the KMT could sign a peace treaty with China if it returned to power.
“A cross-strait peace agreement would be tantamount to a ‘unification treaty,’” Lai said, adding that it would most likely subject Taiwan to China’s “one country, two systems” model, under which Hong Kongers have suffered the loss of their freedom.
The “two systems” model does not have a market in Taiwan, particularly after a mob of thugs dressed in white shirts attacked anti-extradition bill protesters in Hong Kong on July 21, Lai said.
Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-seneral Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said although the KMT is reluctant to publicly embrace the “two systems” model due to fierce opposition in Taiwan, the party and its presidential candidate still owe the public an explanation of their policies.
“The KMT and Han should clearly explain what they support, what their China policy is and what their views on Taiwan’s sovereignty are,” Chiu said. “They should also tell the people whether Taiwan will suffer the same fate as Hong Kong, Tibet or Xinjiang if the mayor is elected president.”
Suggesting that such claims were politically partisan and not supported by evidence, KMT spokesman Ouyang Long (歐陽龍) said that Wu had publicly stated that there is no support for the “one country, two systems” framework in Taiwan after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced his plan to explore a “Taiwan version” of the model in a speech on Jan. 2.
Further, “equating [signing] a cross-strait peace agreement to accepting the ‘one country, two systems’ framework makes no sense. We want peace across the Taiwan Strait and we want peace for the world. This is the common pursuit of all people,” Ouyang said. “What is the alternative? Are we supposed to sign an agreement for war?”
He also said that Han did not say anything about wanting to ink a cross-strait peace agreement in his nomination speech.
Han secured a landslide victory in the KMT’s presidential primary on July 15, gaining average support of 44.8 percent across five opinion polls versus 27.73 percent for runner-up and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘).
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