Eric Chu to at­tend KMT-CCP fo­rum

KMT leader yet to an­nounce whether he will meet with Xi

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Rul­ing Kuom­intang ( KMT) Chair­man Eric Chu said on Sun­day that he plans to lead his party’s del­e­ga­tion to an an­nual fo­rum with the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party (CCP) early next month in Shang­hai but de­ferred on whether he will meet with main­land Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping.

The 10th KMT- CCP fo­rum, called the “Cross-Strait Eco­nomic, Trade and Cul­ture Fo­rum,” was sched­uled for last year but post­poned for var­i­ous rea­sons, un­til May 2-3, sources told re­porters on Thurs­day.

The plan is to dis­cuss is­sues re­lated to youth, cul­ture and eco­nomic in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the two sides of the Tai­wan Strait, Chu said.

On the ques­tion of whether his sched­ule will in­clude a meet­ing with Xi, who is gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CCP, Chu said that is an­other is­sue and will be dealt with later.

The 53-year-old mayor of New Taipei, Tai­wan’s most pop­u­lous mu­nic­i­pal­ity, is seen as the KMT’s best chance of win­ning the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2016.

The up­com­ing KMT-CCP fo­rum has been a point of con­tention be­tween Tai­wan’s two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the KMT and the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP).

Chu said on Sun­day that it is in Tai­wan’s best in­ter­ests not to link party ide­ol­ogy to cross-strait af­fairs.

“Cross- strait re­la­tions should not be con­strained by ide­ol­ogy, and should be free from party or in­di­vid­ual ma­neu­ver­ing,” Chu said, when asked to com­ment on a re­cent state­ment on the is­sue by the DPP Chair­woman Tsai Ing- wen.

Tsai, who is seek­ing the DPP’s nom­i­na­tion to run in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, said Satur­day that Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou’s gov­ern­ment has been con­flat­ing re­la­tions be­tween the KMT and the CCP with cross-strait ties.

Tsai said peo­ple in Tai­wan are un­happy with the way the KMT has been han­dling cross-strait ties be­cause it tends not to dis­tin­guish be­tween KMT-CCP re­la­tions and cross-strait re­la­tions.

In re­sponse, Chu

said

cross- strait re­la­tions mean re­la­tions be­tween Tai­wan and main­land China.

KMT- CCP re­la­tions are ties be­tween the two po­lit­i­cal par­ties, sim­i­lar to the links be­tween civil groups and be­tween cities on the two sides of the Tai­wan Strait, he said. Peo­ple should not con­fuse the ties or try to “dis­credit” the KMTCCP links, Chu added.

He said it is in Tai­wan’s best in­ter­ests for cross-strait re­la­tions to be free from party ide­ol­ogy.

The DPP chair­woman said that cross-strait re­la­tions should not be limited to the scope of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, but must be de­fined as re­la­tions be­tween gov­ern­ments that fully re­flect the will and ex­pec­ta­tions of the peo­ple.

Tsai was elab­o­rat­ing on her state­ment the pre­vi­ous day when she said that cross-strait re­la­tions should not be de­fined by the agenda of the KMT.

She said that since the KMT came to power, it has been com­pro­mis­ing in its cross-strait ne­go­ti­a­tions on be­half of Tai­wan.

The rul­ing party has been first reach­ing agree­ments with China, then seek­ing the ap­proval of the Tai­wan peo­ple through var­i­ous ma­neu­ver­ing, Tsai said at a soft­ball event in New Taipei or­ga­nized by her sup­port­ers.

Cross-strait agree­ments must be ne­go­ti­ated at a gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment level to en­sure ad­e­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion, trans­parency, and over­sight by the Leg­is­la­ture and the peo­ple, she said.

“Tai­wan is a demo­cratic na­tion, and the demo­cratic process must be up­held,” Tsai stressed.

She fur­ther said that cross-strait re­la­tions will progress only when the re­quired demo­cratic pro­ce­dures are ob­served to en­sure that the will and ex­pec­ta­tions of the peo­ple are met.

“I be­lieve that our ex­pec­ta­tions of gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment level ne­go­ti­a­tions are shared by the public,” Tsai said.

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