KMT holding Eric Chu back
The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision to lower the flag at its Taipei headquarters to half-staff in honor of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated on Friday last week, has drawn protests from deep-blue supporters. Despite their disapproval, after the Japanese government announced it would hold a state funeral for Abe, rumors began to circulate that KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) would attend it during a visit to Japan.
In response, Democratic Progressive Party Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said that such a move is the right choice and a good development for Taiwan, adding that he hopes Chu can overcome the obstacles of the extremists inside the KMT.
The KMT said that Chu had long planned to visit Japan this year, but that the exact timing had yet to be decided.
It is unknown whether Chu intends to replicate the recent success of Vice President William Lai (賴清德), who garnered attention after making a diplomatic breakthrough in flying to Tokyo to pay his respects in honor of Abe.
If Chu does make the trip and can attend the state funeral, he would be criticized by deep-blue supporters and Beijing, but he would also gain support from the majority of Taiwanese. This would surely provide a major boost to his presidential bid in 2024. Thus, the decision will be a test to his style, courage and political wisdom.
Since Chu revealed his plan to visit Japan, he has come under fire from deep-blue heavyweights such as former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) and Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中). Will he be able to resist the internal pressure?
If the KMT is determined to oppose his Japanese trip, would Chu dare to disregard its protests? He might be able to resist the pressure internally, because he is the incumbent chairman, but as the party always acts like Beijing’s little brother, the question remains: Will he dare to disobey it?
During Chu’s visit to the US, he said that the “1992 consensus” between Taiwan and China is “a consensus without a consensus.” In doing so, he has created some room for ambiguous interpretation, but he still cannot escape his fate of being manipulated by China.
If he can attend Abe’s funeral in public, amid the Japanese promotion of “pro-US, pro-Taiwan and anti-China” views, the shock of his Japanese trip would be much greater than that of his US visit, not to mention that he would be standing with mainstream public opinion. Whether he can win applause or boos depends on his final decision.
New Taipei City
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has a good reason to avoid a split vote against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next month’s presidential election. It has been here before and last time things did not go well. Taiwan had its second direct presidential election in 2000 and the nation’s first ever transition of political power, with the KMT in opposition for the first time. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was ushered in with less than 40 percent of the vote, only marginally ahead of James Soong (宋楚瑜), the candidate of the then-newly formed People First Party (PFP), who got almost 37
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has called on his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, William Lai (賴清德), to abandon his party’s Taiwanese independence platform. Hou’s remarks follow an article published in the Nov. 30 issue of Foreign Affairs by three US-China relations academics: Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss and Thomas Christensen. They suggested that the US emphasize opposition to any unilateral changes in the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, and that if Lai wins the election, he should consider freezing the Taiwanese independence clause. The concept of de jure independence was first
Many news reports about the Israel-Hamas war highlight casualties, deaths, and destruction. Journalists rarely delve into how either society has responded and mobilized to deal with the war. This article provides a brief view of how Israel and Israelis have reacted to the war as individuals, groups, and as a nation. A useful template for Taiwan to prepare for a potential future conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is how Israelis self-organized to deal with this crisis. Prior to the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7, Israelis were even more polarized about public policy than the US or Taiwan.
Following the failure of the proposed “blue-white alliance,” New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi named Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as his running mate on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential ticket, while the other prospective half of the alliance, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), named TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈). The result is a three-horse race, which is getting tighter. Hou and Ko are likely to put all their focus on being seen as the top challenger to Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, to