Beijing should converse with both KMT and DPP
The high- profile cross- strait meeting has been confirmed. Kuomintang ( KMT) Chairman Eric Chu ( ) will meet mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping ( ) on May 4 in Beijing.
Before that happens, Chu will attend the KuomintangChinese Communist Party Forum held in Shanghai one day earlier. However, Xi is not attending the event, indicative of Xi’s unwillingness to sit with Chu on equal terms.
Chu’s itinerary is similar to that of a vassal state’s envoy journeying to meet the Chinese emperor, as he has to report to Shanghai first. Does Chu deserve this type of reception?
There has been a tendency for Beijing to purposely lower Taiwan’s national status. However, the latest snub somehow also reflects Chu’s lack of authority in Taiwan.
Chu announced recently that he will not run in the 2016 presidential election, despite the fact he is considered one of the strongest rivals to Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing- wen ( ) , who has long declared her presidential intentions. It is a sign that Chu has no faith he would win the election.
The KMT at this stage no longer represents the voice of Taiwan either. As party chairman, Chu now represents the KMT, which in the wake of last November’s 9- in- 1 national elections, controls only six of the island’s 22 local governments. His predecessor, and current president, Ma Ying- jeou has a mere 9- percent approval rating.
There are also rumors of wrongdoings when Chu was Taoyuan County magistrate, such as using nominee accounts to hike real estate value associated with Taoyuan Aerotropolis ( ).
The summit between Xi and Chu is likely to cover cross- strait relations and future cooperation opportunities.
Beijing may grant Taiwan membership to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but founding member status is not a possibility.
There is little doubt that China’s ultimate goal is to include Taiwan as part of its territory. All meetings and exchanges across the strait, from China’s viewpoint, are but steps on the road to final unification.
It will not be an easy path. Taiwan is not ready to accept Beijing’s “one China, two systems” proposition.
However, constructive dialogue is advised in any tensions and disputes. While the Kuomintang- Chinese Communist Party Forum has been held every year since 2006, we must ask why there has been so little dialogue between the Communist Party and the Democratic Progressive Party.
After winning the 9- in- 1 elections last November by a landslide, the opposing party gained the upper hand in Taiwan’s political landscape. Some are even certain that the DPP’s Tsai will triumph in 2016.
A difference in core beliefs between the DPP and the Chinese Communist Party is probably the reason for the two parties’ lack of conversation. The DPP wants independence, while for the Communists, independence in any form for Taiwan would cross its “red line.”
It is a dilemma that both parties should strive to overcome. The DPP should remember that its credo will never be accepted by Beijing. Without a more pragmatic cross- strait policy, the DPP risks shooting itself in the foot. In fact, Tsai’s ambiguous cross- strait policy is widely considered her key vulnerability in the coming election.
As for the Communists, it should be remembered that the KMT is not always the ruling party in Taiwan, as about half of the population supports the DPP. The track record shows that KMT candidates endorsed by the Communists, such as Sean Lien ( ) in last year’s Taipei mayoral election, tend to go downhill as a result. It is time that they listened to the other half of the population.