Taipei, Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Friday denounced the Chinese state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) for tagging a planned visit to China for a cross-Taiwan Strait forum later this month as a move to “sue for peace” amid the tense standoff in the strait.
The KMT has decided to send a delegation headed by former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to China to attend the 12th Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian Province, scheduled to start on Sept. 19, despite warnings from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
The planned visit, however, also drew a sarcastic headline from CCTV, one of Beijing’s mouthpieces, for its program on cross-strait affairs that reads “with the strait on the brink of war, this man (Wang) is coming to the mainland to sue for peace.”
In response, the KMT released a statement on Friday blasting the comment, which it said is not only unhelpful to “positive interactions” between the two sides of the strait, but “distorts the original intention of pursuing peace and hurts the feelings of the peoples of the two sides.”
The decision to attend the annual event, which has been held since 2009, was made in the hope of creating fundamental conditions for peace in the strait while promoting mutual recognition and exchanges, the KMT said.
It said it hopes that the Straits Forum — a civil platform for interaction and exchanges — will help ease the tense standoff between the two sides and form an atmosphere conducive to dialogue.
It is necessary for the party to support cross-strait exchanges in the civil sector now that the DPP government has tried to cut off exchanges with “all kinds of empty excuses,” the KMT noted.
While the forum is simply a civil event in nature, it should not be used to engage in political propaganda, the KMT added, stressing that “one cannot achieve peace through making concessions” but with “communication and dialogue.”
The KMT urged the relevant Chinese authorities to take efficient measures to retract the newspaper’s twisted comment and create an atmosphere of peace with mutual trust and respect in the strait.
The KMT announced the planned visit on Tuesday, saying it is aimed at promoting cross-strait understanding and peace amid the rising tension between Taiwan and China during the presidency of the DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that it warned could potentially lead to war.
The Straits Forum was first held in 2009 under the then-KMT government as a platform for cultural cooperation and economic exchanges between the two sides.
Wang and the delegation are scheduled to leave Taiwan for the Xiamen forum on Sept. 16 and return Sept. 21, according to the KMT.
In response to the KMT’s decision, the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council has warned that Beijing could use the forum to drum up support among Taiwanese for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) plan to unify Taiwan under the “one country, two systems” model.
It called on individuals and political groups to obey Taiwan’s laws regarding cross-strait exchanges, specifically the anti-infiltration law, passed into law in January.
On Friday, several DPP lawmakers, including Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) of the Foreign and National Defense Committee at the Legislative Yuan, urged the KMT to refrain from conveying “false information” at the forum.
They did not give any details on the call but mentioned recent exercises by the People’s Liberation Army of China in the marine and airspace close to southwestern Taiwan.
Chao described the military drills as not only “provocative, but likely to trigger military conflict and crises.”
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel