China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 20, 2016
Executive Summary: The theme of the KMT CCP Forum has been changed. What was a trade and cultural forum, is now a peace forum. This proves that the Mainland's Taiwan policy has not changed. It still seeks to promote peaceful cross-Strait relations. President Tsai said she hoped the Mainland would demonstrate greater goodwill toward Taiwan. The Mainland has demonstrated goodwill toward Taiwan, through practical action. The Mainland has not endorsed the DPP's cross-Strait policy. Nevertheless it remains willing to carry on exchanges with Taiwan. It remains willing to ensure cross-Strait peace. By taking advantage of this opportunity, the KMT will make a contribution to cross-Strait peace. This merits President Tsai's careful consideration.
Full Text Below:
The Democratic Progressive Party now exercises total control over the Taiwan Region of China. Yet the Mainland has decided to keep communication channels between the KMT and the CCP open. Xi Jinping, one of the five most powerful figures in the world, will meet with the relatively powerless Kuomintang and its relatively powerless chairman, Hung Hsiu-chu. This may be a negative development for the DPP as a party, but a positive signal for the DPP government. The reason is simple. Official cross-Strait channels of communication have been severed. But private sector contacts are not following suit. Many problems remain and must be resolved. If the government cannot fulfill this role, the relative strength of the Mainland means that Taiwanese will be the ones to suffer. From another perspective, the KMT and CCP are helping the DPP government. President Tsai needs to understand this.
In 2005, the DPP vehemently opposed Lien Chan's visit to the Mainland. The following year, it opposed the KMT CCP Forum, and the Lien Hu Summit. History shows that when the DPP is in power, its attempts to block the opposition KMT were ineffectual. Lien Chan's visit to the Mainland was a success. He reached five points of agreement with the Mainland authorities. He established a new, peaceful relationship with the Mainland. Over the past decade, cross-Strait relations, economic and trade cooperation, and Taiwan's participation in international activities, have all improved as a result of the consultations held back then. Taiwan as a whole has benefited. The KMT may be in the opposition. But it remains in a position to improve cross-Strait relations and benefit Taiwan.
The DPP has habitually denounced the KMT for “pandering to China [sic] and selling out Taiwan”. It has opposed many KMT moves to the bitter end. The DPP is now the ruling party, yet it persists in disparaging the Hung Xi Summit. The summit may break the deadlock in cross-Strait relations and benefit Taiwan, but the DPP does not care. The DPP is no longer an opposition party. As the ruling party, it must view cross-Strait issues from the interests of people as a whole. It must view the role played by the KMT from a positive angle. Taiwan society is dogged by blue vs. green confrontation, particularly in such areas as national identity and Taiwan independence. Nevertheless both parties have a responsibility to the 23 million people on Taiwan, regardless of where their partisan loyalties may lie. They must fulfill their respective roles, for the benefit of Taiwan and for the sake of cross-Strait peace.
Most people on Taiwan still want to maintain the status quo. They do want to move too quickly toward reunification. Nor do they want to incite cross-Strait conflict over Taiwan independence. President Tsai has not make any provocations with her cross-Strait policy. But neither has she offered any way to break the cross-Strait deadlock. She is determined to resist Mainland pressure, to the bitter end. But she cannot change the cross-Strait power differential. Economics, trade, diplomacy, and other factors will further increase the pressure on Taiwan. The Tsai government will face even greater challenges. The struggle between the CCP and the DPP is an unequal one. The KMT can help provide balance. Through friendly interaction with the Mainland, it can reduce cross-Strait tensions. It can reduce social divisions on Taiwan that result from cross-Strait tensions. It can reduce Mainland pressure on Taiwan society, and enable Mainland policies to benefit Taiwan. For Taiwan, this equals KMT DPP cooperation. It enables the KMT to acquire more maneuvering room for the DPP.
President Tsai has set forth her Four Noes Principle. But it remains mired at the level of political proclamations. Mutual trust with the Mainland is non-existent. Communication channels have been cut. Therefore, the above-mentioned proclamations cannot be implemented. They cannot become part of cross-Strait interaction. Interaction between the KMT and the Mainland is now the most effective channel for cross-Strait communication. Can the DPP set aside partisan power struggles? Can it refrain from blocking KMT efforts on behalf of cross-Strait communications? If it can, Taiwan as a whole will have more bargaining chips when dealing with the Mainland, and the public on Taiwan will benefit more from improved cross-Strait relations.
If the KMT interaction with the Mainland can benefit Taiwan, if it can ensure cross-Strait peace, its interactions will become an example for the DPP to emulate. KMT interaction can alert the DPP to other options in cross-Strait relations, and dissuade it from continuing down a blind alley. The will of the people is as changeable as running water. President Tsai must appreciate the peoples' desire for peace. The KMT is working toward that end. Tsai must not undermine cross-Strait relations. The KMT is the opposition party. It is the minority party in the legislature. It cannot implement the results of negotiations with the Mainland as easily as it did in the past. That will require DPP government cooperation, and will reveal how the DPP government thinks. Can President Tsai put the well-being of the public on Taiwan first? If she can, she must support the KMT CCP Conference, enabling it to benefit the public on Taiwan.
The theme of the KMT CCP Forum has been changed. What was a trade and cultural forum, is now a peace forum. This proves that the Mainland's Taiwan policy has not changed. It still seeks to promote peaceful cross-Strait relations. President Tsai said she hoped the Mainland would demonstrate greater goodwill toward Taiwan. The Mainland has demonstrated goodwill toward Taiwan, through practical action. The Mainland has not endorsed the DPP's cross-Strait policy. Nevertheless it remains willing to carry on exchanges with Taiwan. It remains willing to ensure cross-Strait peace. By taking advantage of this opportunity, the KMT will make a contribution to cross-Strait peace. This merits President Tsai's careful consideration.