The KMT needs to em­bark on more jour­neys of peace

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

Ten years ago this month, Lien Chan, chair­man of the Kuom­intang (KMT), who was de­feated in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion the year be­fore, made a jour­ney of peace to China to ease the ten­sions across the Tai­wan Strait and pave the way for an even­tual rap­proche­ment be­tween Taipei and Bei­jing. Lien ar­rived in Bei­jing on April 26, one and a half months af­ter China had adopted the Anti-Se­ces­sion Law against in­de­pen­dence for Tai­wan. Then-Pres­i­dent Chen Shui-bian tried to ac­cen­tu­ate by go­ing back on his in­au­gu­ral prom­ise of no abo­li­tion of the Na­tional Uni­fi­ca­tion Coun­cil and no re­peal of the Guide­lines for Na­tional Uni­fi­ca­tion. He had the for­mer cease func­tion­ing and the lat­ter cease ap­ply­ing its claim; He didn’t lit­er­ally break his prom­ise, though.

While in Bei­jing, Lien, who would re­tire as chair­man of the KMT shortly there­after, met Hu Jin­tao, China’s pres­i­dent, and they reached an agree­ment on co­op­er­a­tion across the strait to bring peace and pros­per­ity to the en­tire “one China” na­tion. Their meet­ing for­mally ended the long feud be­tween the KMT and the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party (CCP). The Chi­nese Civil War, which be­gan with Chi­ang Kai-shek’s Red Purge in the late 1920s, was a strug­gle for power be­tween the two par­ties. Mao Ze­dong won the civil war to found the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China and Chi­ang moved his gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of China to Taipei from Nan­jing at the end of 1949.

Lien and Hu ended the war be­tween the two par­ties, and ex­pressed the de­sire to sign a peace agree­ment to end the per­pet­ual en­mity be­tween Tai­wan and China that had lasted from 1950. More­over, they pledged their honor to forge for­ward to­ward their com­mon goal. As a starter, they formed the KMT-CCP Fo­rum, which has since been held ev­ery year. Three months af­ter his re­turn from China, Lien re­tired and Ma Ying-jeou, then the mayor of Taipei, took over.

Now, the 10th round of the KMT-CCP Fo­rum, orig­i­nally sched­uled for last Dec. 20-21 in Zhengzhou, He­nan Prov­ince, will take place in Shang­hai on May 3. The post­pone­ment was ne­ces­si­tated by the KMT’s ter­ri­ble per­for­mance in last year’s na­tion­wide com­bined lo­cal elec­tions, com­monly re­ferred to as the 9-in-1 Elec­tions of Nov. 29.

In all but one of the nine pre­vi­ous KMT-CCP Fo­rum meet­ings, the KMT chair­men and CCP gen­eral sec­re­taries led their re­spec­tive del­e­ga­tions to par­tic­i­pate. The one round of the talks where the KMT chair­man was ab­sent took place in 2010, af­ter Ma dou­bled as KMT chair­man for the sec­ond time at the end of the pre­vi­ous year. Wu Po-hsi­ung, hon­orary chair­man, had to lead the KMT del­e­ga­tion. In the mean­time, Ma has failed to keep his 2008 cam­paign prom­ise to sign a cross-strait peace ac­cord, and adopted in­stead a “no in­de­pen­dence, no uni­fi­ca­tion, and no war” pol­icy to de­cel­er­ate the rap­proche­ment be­tween Tai­wan and the main­land.

Ma quit his con­cur­rent job of KMT chair­man to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the elec­tion de­ba­cle, and Eric Chu, mayor of New Taipei City, is cur­rently chair­man of the rul­ing party. Chu first ex­pressed his de­sire to visit China, sub­tly sug­gest­ing that he hopes to lead a KMT del­e­ga­tion to the post­poned KMT-CCP Fo­rum ses­sion now resched­uled for next month in Shang­hai, while he was in Hong Kong early last month to at­tend a Hong Kong-Tai­wan Fo­rum.

Bei­jing wel­comed Chu’s visit to Shang­hai, but scaled down the KMT-CCP Fo­rum to just one day for lack of such an im­por­tant agenda as the con­clu­sion of the cross-strait peace ac­cord Ma has pur­posely left out. That’s why there was no men­tion of Chu and CCP Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping head­ing their re­spec­tive del­e­ga­tions in the an­nounce­ments on the forth­com­ing round of the KMT-CCP Fo­rum both par­ties made at the same time last Fri­day. The chances are that Xi won’t meet Chu at all next month.

But a Chu-Xi meet­ing would take place if Chu were to prom­ise to con­tinue to work with Xi to pick up where Lien and Hu had left off. Ma, who re­neged on the peace ac­cord, urged Chu to at­tend the Shang­hai round, where the KMT has to se­cure the CCP’s trust in their work­ing to­gether for an even­tual uni­fi­ca­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion. Bei­jing needs the KMT as­sur­ance, now that the pro-in­de­pen­dence Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party ap­pears to be on the verge of com­ing back to power by win­ning next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Chu should go to Shang­hai to recom­mit the KMT to work for the con­clu­sion of the peace ac­cord for the good of Tai­wan.

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