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A silver lining in cross-Straits ties

Updated: 2016-10-29 08:56
By Zhu Songling (China Daily)

A silver lining in cross-Straits ties

Hung Hsiu-chu,chairwoman of the opposition Kuomintang Party in Taiwan, gives an interview at a radio station inTaipei, Taiwan, on 23 June 2015.

Hung Hsiu-chu, chairwoman of the opposition Kuomintang Party in Taiwan, is scheduled to embark on a five-day trip to the Chinese mainland on Sunday. Her first visit to the mainland since becoming the Kuomintang leader in March will first take her to Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, where the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is located, and then to Beijing.

Both sides of the Taiwan Straits are working on the details of Hung's itinerary. She has already confirmed her participation in the Beijing-based Cross-Straits Peace and Development Forum, which will be jointly hosted by nongovernmental organizations from the mainland and Taiwan on Nov 2 and 3.

As cross-Straits exchanges, official and grassroots both, have continued to wane since Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, also the chairwoman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, assumed power in May, Hung's visit to the mainland could serve as a silver lining in cross-Straits relations.

The primary aim of her visit is to deepen interaction between the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang in accordance with the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus and help improve cross-Straits relations.

In other words, despite the high-level interaction being essentially confined to the two parties, its implications extend much beyond that. As An Fengshan, spokesman for the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Wednesday, Hung's trip to the mainland will have a positive impact on maintaining cross-Straits peace and stability.

A lot depends on how the mainland sees the island's political situation and cross-Straits ties in the long run and what's on the agenda of the parties' leaders. If the meeting between the two parties is held, as many observers expect, it would deliver a key message that the mainland stands firm on its one-China principle and opposition to separatist moves in Taiwan irrespective of which party governs the island.

Exchanges between the CPC and Kuomintang are possible because the latter also upholds the 1992 Consensus. And the change in the theme of this year's CPC-KMT forum-from "Trade, Economy and Culture" to "Peace and Development"-reflects the demands of the changing times.

The peaceful development enjoyed by both sides for the past eight years has more or less come to a halt since Tsai became the Taiwan leader five months ago. Rebuilding peace and trust is supposed to be a priority in cross-Straits relations, because without peace and trust, trade and cultural exchanges would simply not proceed.

During Hung's visit to the mainland, both sides are expected to consolidate their adherence to the 1992 Consensus, which Tsai has not yet consented to, and address thorny issues facing cross-Straits ties. As such, the island's divisive public opinions should be fairly evaluated.

That Tsai and her DPP won this year's leadership election does not necessarily mean they can turn a deaf ear to those who are against the "independence" campaign and in favor of a peaceful cross-Straits relationship.

The Kuomintang leader is qualified to represent their appeals and seek consensus with the mainland's governing party, which should be taken seriously by the Tsai administration.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University. The article is an excerpt from his interview with China Daily's Cui Shoufeng.

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