Hung Hsiu-chu Must Achieve Three Goals
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 18, 2016
Executive Summary: Disputes over political path may provoke short term controversy. In the long run, the KMT must reflect on any biases in its political path. It must reflect upon course adjustments it must make to remain up to date and relevant. Disputes must not be the by product of personal animosities. They must not be the instruments of internecine struggle. Hung Hsiu-chu must have the courage to make a commitment on behalf of the KMT. She must obtain conditions beneficial to the KMT and Taiwan from Xi Jinping. Disputes over the KMT political path can be resolved. This is the challenge Hung faces. This is her chance to make history.
Full Text Below:
On November 2 and November 3, the KMT and CCP will hold a forum on cross-Strait peace and development in Beijing, and decide whether to convene a Hung Xi Summit. The DPP has yet to cast stones, but Hung's KMT comrades are already sharpening their axes. KMT legislators are complaining that Hung Hsiu-chu failed to inform the party beforehand. They are demanding that Hung Hsiu-chu coordinate with the party before her visit, and are voicing doubts about Hung's "one China, same interpretation" premise. They want Hung Hsiu-chu to inform Xi Jinping that the Kuomintang insists on the 1992 Consensus and one China, different interpretations.
Former Vice President Wu Dunyi visited the United States a few days ago and criticized Hung Hsiu-chu's "different from us" remark. The clash within the KMT over its political path is now out in the open. Disputes over political path within political parties are common, and not necessarily a bad thing. But the current dispute over political path has degenerated into a battle of wills, even a battle of personalities. The criticisms directed against the upcoming Hung Xi Summit are clearly without merit, either procedurally or substantively.
From a procedural perspective, the KMT legislative caucus complained that it was not informed about the Hung Xi Summit beforehand. Hung Hsiu-chu responded. She said, "Consider the Lien Hu Summit, the Ma Xi Summit, the Chu Xi Summit. When have KMT chairmen ever notified the KMT legislative caucus in advance? Many details are still being negotiated. Not every detail can be included in a report. Even announcements must be made by the two sides at the same time.” Her perfectly reasonable answer left critics speechless. After all, when critics fail to apply the same procedural standards to all, it is obvious their attack is personal in nature.
The KMT legislative caucus made the same mistaken when it demanded that Hung Hsiu-chu publicly reaffirm "one China, different interpretations" during the Hung Xi Summit. But with the sole exception of the Ma Xi Summit, past KMT CCP summits never included any such public affirmations. This demand was clearly unreasonable.
The KMT legislators' selective indignation arouses the suspicion that Hung Hsiu-chu was being personally attacked. Doubts about the party's political path may be real. But unfair targeting of Hung has turned the debate into a power struggle.
From a practical perspective, it is unwise for the KMT to make political hay out of the Hung Xi Summit. Instead, the KMT should ask itself, if the Hung Xi Summit fails to gel, the Tenth Annual KMT CCP Forum will be canceled. How will that be interpreted? Everyone will conclude that the KMT has been marginalized. They will conclude that even cross-Strait dialogue has come to an end, and that the Mainland authorities no longer have any desire to deal with the KMT. Will such an interpretation benefit the KMT? The interests of the KMT as a party and the interests of the Republic of China as a nation, demand the convening of the KMT CCP Forum and the Hung Xi Summit. That ought to be a consensus within the KMT.
Of even greater importance of course, are Taiwan's interests. Continuation of the KMT CCP Forum will stabilize cross-Strait relations, which are currently in jeopardy. The KMT CCP Forum will keep official cross-Strait political communication channels open. It will prevent misunderstandings that could lead to a shooting war. The KMT CCP Forum ensures that the KMT and CCP will remain committed to peace. Such a guarantee will help contain the DPP. It will prevent it from becoming too radical in its advocacy of Taiwan independence. It can prevent it from going too far, from crossing a line in the sand and endangering cross-Strait peace. This is the substantive merit of the KMT CCP Forum and the Hung Xi Summit.
That does not mean that the KMT or others cannot raise doubts about the Hung Xi Summit. But such doubts should be constructive. In fact, Hung Hsiu-chu's participation in a Hung Xi Summit could yield considerable benefits.
A change in ruling parties and cross-Strait relations has taken place. Hung Hsiu-chu must seek to achieve at least three goals:
First, she should reaffirm the path of cross-Strait peace. She should ensure that cross-Strait relations under DPP rule remain stable. She should declare that the KMT will actively ensure KMT CCP cooperation, and grant swing voters on Taiwan peace of mind.
Second, the KMT is no longer the ruling party. The DPP is likely to move toward Taiwan independence. Political dialogue will be extremely important. The KMT and the CCP must ensure mutual trust. They must enable the two sides to engage in peaceful political dialogue. They must begin with economics, trade, and culture, and end with politics. They must enable the opposition KMT to lead Taiwan's political development.
Thirdly, at the core of any political dialogue is Hung and Xi's affirmation. They must affirm that although two sides of the Strait are separately governed, they are not moving away from each other. The KMT must stress that although the two sides are divided, they are not on a separatist path. Hung Hsiu-chu must urge Xi Jinping to accept separate governance. That means the Mainland must accept the Republic of China's constitutional framework. Only then can the political relationship between the two sides be further clarified. Only then can the two sides move toward reunification.
Disputes over political path may provoke short term controversy. In the long run, the KMT must reflect on any biases in its political path. It must reflect upon course adjustments it must make to remain up to date and relevant. Disputes must not be the by product of personal animosities. They must not be the instruments of internecine struggle. Hung Hsiu-chu must have the courage to make a commitment on behalf of the KMT. She must obtain conditions beneficial to the KMT and Taiwan from Xi Jinping. Disputes over the KMT political path can be resolved. This is the challenge Hung faces. This is her chance to make history.