• 2017/8/11

EDITORIAL: The KMT under Wu is doomed

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When Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) won the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship in May, a number of political observers said his victory represented the decline of the “natural unification” KMT and the start of a “local unification” KMT. Some pan-green camp supporters even expressed hope that the party would expedite its localization under Wu.

He also showed he was different from his predecessors by saying in his response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) congratulatory message that “in 1992, both sides reached the conclusion that they should adhere to the ‘one China’ principle, but verbally agreed to make their own interpretations of what that means” — a departure from previous party leaders such as Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who only highlighted the “one China” component of the so-called “1992 consensus.”

However, considering the party’s draft policy platform unveiled last month, it remains to be seen whether Wu can truly empathize with the public view on China.

While the section on cross-strait policy appeared to mitigate the excess of Hung’s position by saying that the party would promote cross-strait exchanges and mutual understanding on the basis of the “one China, different interpretations” principle that is attached to the “1992 consensus” — a clear break from the previous party platform under Hung which called for pursuit of “a peace accord with China” and “one China, same interpretation” — other proposed wordings suggest that Wu was trying to appeal to Beijing.

While Hung had adopted Ma’s “three noes” policy — no unification, no independence and no use of force — the draft has thrown it away by stating that “the party is firm in its position against Taiwanese independence.”

When Ma was KMT chairman, it was public knowledge that he advocated “eventual unification” and it was clear that while Ma’s “no independence and no use of force” policies were real, the part about “no unification” was a pretense.

However, at least Ma reserved room for independence by stating that the nation’s future must be decided by Taiwanese.

By contrast, the draft’s brazenly black-and-white statement against independence means that Wu is obviously trying to appease China by reducing its doubt that the KMT sees independence as an option.

It is regrettable that he appears to believe that he needs to curry favor with Xi and secure Beijing’s allegiance to secure the KMT and therefore Taiwan.

Numerous public opinion polls have clearly shown that the majority of Taiwanese reject eventual unification.

A survey conducted in May last year by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research found that 66.4 percent of respondents were opposed to unification and only 18.5 percent were in favor, with cross-analysis showing that youth is correlated with approval for independence, with 72 percent of those in the 20-to-29 age group in support.

A survey carried out in May last year by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed that 80 percent of respondents self-identified as Taiwanese, while a poll by the Taiwan Brain Trust in October last year found that 75.8 percent of respondents believe Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation, and a separate poll conducted in June found that 75 percent believe Taiwan and China are different nations.

The policy platform is to be finalized after KMT representatives’ opinions are solicited at the party’s national congress on Aug. 20, during which Wu is also slated to become chairman.
The KMT under Wu’s leadership is doomed to remain the opposition party if it continues to drift away from the mainstream view.

 

 

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