The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.”
The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday.
On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline about Wang and the delegation that read: “With the Strait on the brink of war, this man is coming to the mainland to sue for peace.”
KMT Culture and Communications Committee chairwoman Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a press conference in Taipei that the KMT’s announcement last week that Wang would lead the delegation was aimed at “opening a window for cross-strait peaceful dialogue” and “promoting mutually beneficial people-to-people exchanges.”
However, the “suing for peace” claim has “changed the tone of the good intention of exchange,” she said.
The “overall atmosphere” across the Taiwan Strait is disadvantageous for exchange and dialogue between the two sides, so the KMT has decided “not to participate [in the forum] as a political party,” Wang said.
Cross-strait relations at present are “very complicated and sensitive,” she said.
“Any inappropriate comments or behavior are enough to cause serious harm to the hard-won goodwill and mutual trust,” she said.
The KMT believes that the two sides of the Strait should engage in exchanges based on reciprocity and dignity, and it would continue to work toward cross-strait exchange and dialogue, she added.
Asked if any KMT members would attend the forum, Wang said the forum is a non-governmental exchange event and KMT members could attend it in their personal capacity.
If people who had tentatively been included in the planned KMT delegation did attend, it would be their personal decision and they would not be representing the KMT, the party said.
The Mainland Affairs Council said it respected the KMT’s decision.
The government has always supported cross-strait exchanges that offer equal dignity, comply with regulations and do not involve any political preconditions, it said.
Additional reporting by CNA and Lu Yi-hsuan
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