Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) yesterday announced that he would seek the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) nomination to run for president in 2020, saying that he would engage in talks with Beijing and explore the possibility of unification if elected.
Chang, a National Taiwan University political science professor and former diplomat, is the second KMT member to express his intention to vie for the presidential nomination after former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).
By joining the primary race, he hopes to “reset the Republic of China and the KMT” as the nation faces a series of political, economic and identity crises at home and abroad, he told a news conference at the KMT-affiliated school in Taipei.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The KMT must “eliminate its feudal culture and tendency to ignore rules” and “reform itself into a party with ideals and clear rules, energetic and close to the public,” he said.
With new-found values, the party could reset the nation, beginning with the 2020 presidential election, he said.
Commenting on Chines President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) call on Wednesday last week for unification, Chang said that while Xi proposed “one country, two systems” as a framework for governance after unification, he is more concerned about putting an end to the hostility between the two sides, which would be “more practical and necessary.”
He said he would sign a peace treaty with Beijing on the premise of “one China, with each side having its own constitutional government” to ensure the peaceful development of both sides.
Following that, “it would be natural to explore the option of unification,” he said, adding that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are like “brothers of one family” and “there is nothing brothers cannot talk about or cannot compromise on.”
A peace treaty would allow the government to reduce its military spending, and focus on economic development and social security, he said.
It would also pave the way for negotiating increased participation by Taiwan in international organizations and meetings, he added.
“The KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party have both been avoiding elaborating on cross-strait relations, but the problem can only be solved by confronting it,” he said.
Once an aide of Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) when she was KMT chairwoman, Chang said that he believes Hung would support him, as they “share similar beliefs.”
“Hung played the first half and I will play the second half,” he added, referring to Hung’s short-lived bid for presidency in 2015.
Hung, who advocated a “one country, same interpretation” formula, was nominated as the party’s presidential candidate in July 2015, but replaced by Chu after three months, as a majority of party members found her support for unification controversial.
Chang’s platform also includes replacing the semi-presidential system with a parliamentary system, increasing the number of legislative seats from 113 to 200, abolishing the Transitional Justice Commission, and scrapping all curriculum guidelines for history and social studies previously issued by the government in favor of allowing schools and parents to choose their own textbooks.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
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