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Taiwan

As KMT chief heads to Beijing, some in her party wary over what she might say

Kuomintang chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu will be closely watched for any comments relating to peace across the Taiwan Strait

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 12:12am

Leaders of Taiwan’s Kuomintang and the mainland’s Communist Party will hold talks on Tuesday in Beijing, but experts say the meeting threatens to widen a rift in the KMT over its policy platform regarding cross-strait ties.

KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu and a 140-member delegation would arrive in Nanjing (南京) on Sunday and visit the mausoleum of KMT co-founder Dr Sun Yat-sen on Monday, KMT officials said.

‘KMT leader to meet Xi Jinping’ ahead of annual talks with Communist Party

Hung would meet President Xi Jinping in his capacity as head of the party at 3pm on Tuesday in Beijing, where the two were expected to discuss such issues as the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, they said. The annual forum between the two parties would be held on Wednesday and Thursday. Previously the meetings were called the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum, but this year they have been rebadged as the Cross-Strait Peace Development Forum. The meeting between the two party leaders will be widely watched not only by some members of the opposition KMT, concerned that Hung might say something on forging a peace pact or cross-strait reunification to please Xi, but also the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

The KMT legislative caucus has openly questioned Hung’s eagerness to meet Xi, especially after she orchestrated the change of the party’s policy platform. On September 4, the KMT national congress adopted a new policy platform that included “deepening” the “1992 consensus” on the basis of the constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s official title) and exploring possibilities for ending cross-strait hostility through the pursuit of a peace pact.

KMT will face grim prospects as an agent of Beijing’s interests

The consensus is an understanding reached by the two sides in 1992 that there is only one China, but allows each side to interpret what China stands for.

While the new platform keeps the consensus, it stops short of mentioning the aspect of separate interpretations.

Hung has stressed that the new policy platform, which she has dubbed a “peace platform”, would offer “a way out” for the party and the public in Taiwan as she would strive to seek the peaceful development of ties with the mainland. But KMT legislators and party bigwigs are more concerned about Hung not including the phrase about the two interpretations of “one China”.

I don’t see the point of leaving out the separate interpretation part, which has long been considered a treasure for the party
KMT legislator Lai Shyi-bao

“I don’t see the point of leaving out the interpretation part, which has long been considered a treasure for the party,” KMT legislator Lai Shih-bao said.

Lai’s comment reflects the concerns of a number of party members who suspect Hung revised the platform to please Xi, thereby adding weight to her political status, which could help her secure a new term in July.

Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, on Thursday reminded the KMT that all political deals could only be signed under the Taipei administration’s authorisation.

A senior KMT official said that if Hung failed to heed different voices and proposed to promote a cross-strait peace pact, the party would stand to lose in elections. “I am afraid the party will be divided further if she goes ahead and does what she wants,” he said.