Bei­jing should con­verse with both KMT and DPP

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

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.

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