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Without the “China Element,” How Will the KMT Rise Again?

icon2016/05/27
iconBrowse:849

Without the “China Element,” How Will the KMT Rise Again?

 

China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)

A Translation

May 26, 2016

 

Executive Summary:

 

The KMT remains the key. It must not remain idle while individuals fight its battles. It must provide checks and balances on the ruling DPP. It must not start strong only to end weak. It must gather its forces, unify the party, allies, and the public, and together oppose the DPP's Anti-Mainland China agenda. In so doing, it must also include people of goodwill from both sides of the Strait, and together promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

 

Full Text Below:

 

Since January 16, virtually all attention has been focused on the DPP. Only then President Ma Ying-jeou, who visited several offshore islands, and still active then outgoing Premier Chang San-cheng, somewhat attracted media attention. In March, the KMT was busy with its party chairmanship by-election. Since then, it has done almost nothing of note. It has gradually vanished from the media spotlight. It even failed to comment on President Tsai's inaugural address, on Premier Lin Chuan's immediate declaration to rescind revisions to school textbook guidleines, and the dropping of criminal charge against Sunflower Student Movement participants. Only a few sporadic shots were fired in return. The KMT was virtually invisible.

 

The KMT remains, after all, the second largest political party on Taiwan. With 35 seats in the Legislative Yuan, it should be checking and balancing the ruling DPP. This is especially true since the Kuomintang has major divergences with the DPP over matters of history, national identity, and cross-Strait relations. Unless the KMT highlights its own values, and defends its own beliefs, it will not be able to check and balance the ruling DPP. It will not be able to provide Taiwan with guidance, and will probably be forgotten forever.

 

In President Tsai's inaugural address, she clear-cuttingly placed cross-Strait relations in terms of priority, behind regional and global issue. She hopes that membership in the TPP and RCEP, as well as her New Southward Policy, will enable her to “bid farewell to previous over-dependence on a single market.” The single market she referred to was of course the Mainland market. President Tsai also echoed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "diplomacy based on value systems" rhetoric. She said the DPP wants to promote an "alliance of values." The allies she has in mind are of course the United States and Japan. The target of the alliance is of course the Beijing government. This kind of “confrontation in matters of security,” along with “economic alienation” from the Mainland, constitutes President Tsai's foreign policy strategy for the next four years.

 

Consider the Mainland perception. President Tsai declared that she would "galvanize a consensus and adopt a unified stance in external policy." By “external,” she means of course the Mainland. For the new government, the Mainland is a hostile entity, but one that must be dealt with. Therefore, she will deal with it last. It is the “other party” that must be dealt with through the "alliance of values." For President Tsai, "the two sides of the Strait are like one family” is not her thinking. For her, cross-Strait relations is an “adversarial relationship between two foes.”

 

President Tsai's strategic blueprint is guaranteed to ring disaster down on Taiwan's head. This is why the KMT remains indispensable. The KMT must have the wisdom to expose the DPP's fallacies. It must have the courage to criticize them. The KMT, aka Chinese Nationalist Party, must understand that if it loses its status as a voice for "China," it will lose its soul and its very reason for being. It will become nothing more than a “me too” edition of the DPP. If, however, the KMT is willing to reinvest the term "China" with meaning, it can find a theoretical basis for rebirth. Establishing peaceful relations with the Mainland can strengthen Taiwan and influence the Mainland.

 

The KMT must insist that Taiwan is a pluralistic society with Chinese culture at its core, and not, as the DPP insists, a pluralistic society without any core culture. The Constitution of the Republic of China is a constitution that does not permit separatism. The new government has no right to propose Taiwan independence. It has a duty to ensure that the nation remains whole. Cross-Strait relations are not foreign relations. They are relations between two governments within China that are in a state of civil war. The 1992 Consensus is the political foundation for cross-Strait exchanges of administrative and business nature. The KMT must demand to oversee the new government that it continue to uphold these principles. It must tell the people that Taiwan cannot participate in regional economic organizations unless it does so in concert with the Mainland. The KMT must loudly proclaim that legally the civil war is not over. It must tell the DPP that the more successful its campaign of de-Sinicization, the more people on the two sides are divided in identity, then the more elusive cross-Strait peace will become, and the greater the possibility of military conflict.

 

During the Mainland's 30 years of reform and opening-up, Taiwan made significant contributions to its economic development. Taiwan also preserved traditional Chinese culture. This earned it the respect of the vast majority of people on the Mainland. While the DPP is eager to sever all cultural and economic links with the Mainland, the KMT must continue to bear the heavy burden. Pessimistically speaking, it must not allow the Mainland to lose all room of imagination for reunification. Optimistically speaking, it must let the Mainland feel that Taiwan can play an important role in cooperation and promotion on road to the revitalization of the Chinese nation. Only then can Taiwan win hearts and minds on the Mainland. Only then, can it then win their respect.

 

There is no denying that following Taiwan's democratization, the public on Taiwan and the Mainland have moved away from each other, in both heart and mind. In recent years, Mainland China's composite national strength power has increased. The cross-Strait relative strengths have changed, not only militarily and economically, but also in international affairs, the balance has quickly tilted toward the Mainland. The capacity of the United States to contain the Mainland is clearly waning. The Mainland made unilateral concessions to Taiwan. But eight years of effort had little effect. Instead, they put the DPP in office. Obviously, the Mainland must rethink its Taiwan policy from a deeper stratum. It must not attempt to change Taiwan with lineal thinking, unilateral efforts, or small favors. It must think instead of the Mainland and Taiwan “merging into one.”

 

The KMT remains the key. It must not remain idle while individuals fight its battles. It must provide checks and balances on the ruling DPP. It must not start strong only to end weak. It must gather its forces, unify the party, allies, and the public, and together oppose the DPP's Anti-Mainland China agenda. In so doing, it must also include people of goodwill from both sides of the Strait, and together promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

 

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