Cross-strait forums and similar engagements with China are a diplomatic “back door” and an improper “shortcut,” a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) official said yesterday, adding that Beijing should return to formal government-to-government dialogue with Taiwan.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) delegates are to participate in the Chinese-organized Straits Forum, while the Taipei City Government plans to hold the Taipei-Shanghai Twin City Forum next month, but these are inappropriate exchanges, DPP caucus secretary-general Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said at the legislature in Taipei.
“In political institutions and democratic nations, the normal conduct of bilateral exchanges are through direct talks between governments,” Cheng said.
This is also the right way to conduct political dialogue across the Taiwan Strait, he said.
“No other country would permit a political party to supersede the nation’s interests by engaging in talks and negotiations with a foreign country’s government, or a foreign political party,” he said. “There is an inequality in legitimate representation between the two sides.”
“While the DPP is left out, it cannot say that other parties are betraying the national interest, but their actions might lead to a misunderstanding in other countries about the rights and obligations of political parties in Taiwan,” Cheng said. “It would bring chaos and confusion to the political order in Taiwan and China.”
KMT Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) is to participate via videoconference at the Straits Forum, which opens in Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province on Tuesday next week.
Officials at China’s Taiwan Affairs Office yesterday said that about 2,000 delegates from Taiwan would attend the Straits Forum in person, including members of political parties, business and cultural figures, and youth representatives.
“The KMT and the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] previously took part in the Straits Forum as representatives of their respective parties, but this year, KMT members should ask China to conduct cross-strait dialogue with Taiwan’s government,” Cheng said. “This is the only correct way. Regardless of who is in government, the CCP must respect Taiwan’s ruling party.”
Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), has been in discussions with Chinese officials about holding the Taipei-Shanghai Twin City Forum next month.
Shanghai’s political officials are appointed by the CCP and act as mouthpieces of the party, Cheng said, adding that the forum with Taipei was launched in 2010 by then-Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT.
“The forum has become a second channel for dialogue, with Ko saying it is necessary as no direct talks are possible between the two national governments,” Cheng said, adding that both involve “going in through the back door and taking an improper shortcut.”
“China can push for more political control over Taiwan by having its proxies hold office in the central government, as well as city, county and local administrations,” he said.
“This is happening because opposition parties are opening backdoor channels for China,” he said.
When the KMT was in office, it established the party-to-party platform to engage with the CCP, which led to the Chinese government refusing formal dialogue with Taiwan’s government, he said.
“Even though they are fighting a war, the governments of Russia and Ukraine can still hold talks, but China unilaterally refuses to talk to Taiwan’s government unless the KMT is in power,” Cheng added. “It is utterly unreasonable and goes against all international norms.”
The KMT and the TPP should cancel their participation in the forums and ask China to open government-to-government channels, he said.
“Not even DPP officials can claim to represent all of Taiwan, the Republic of China, in talks with the CCP or Chinese government officials,” he added.
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