Taiwan keeping close eye on China's 18th National Congress

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) Taiwan is keeping a close watch as events unfold at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), especially on the once-in-a-decade leadership transition, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday, the opening day of the congress. Speaking at a press conference, Jeff Yang, an MAC department director, said that China has gradually shifted from its traditional strongman politics, or rule by a caucus of senior party cadres, to a system of governance by a political elite. The world is closely watching whether the CPC has transformed into a system it describes as "democratic centralism," or whether it simply remains "centralist" at its core, he continued. It also remains to be seen whether China will continue under one-man rule, he said. President Hu Jintao is expected to give up his position as head of the party to his designated successor Xi Jinping at the congress, which will run through Nov. 14. Hu said at the opening of the congress that he remains strongly opposed to Taiwan independence and added that China should stick to the principle of "peaceful unification" with Taiwan under the "one country, two systems" model. "We will agree to interact with, conduct dialogue with and cooperate with any political parties in Taiwan, as long as they do not advocate Taiwan independence and as long as they identify with the one-China principle," Hu said in a prepared statement. Hu also said peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait is a must if China is to achieve peaceful unification with Taiwan. Kao Huei, director of the ruling Kuomintang's Mainland Affairs Department, praised Hu's mention of "peaceful development of cross-strait relations," saying it shows that China values peace between the two sides. His speech on cross-strait relations also shows that he has retained his long-standing Taiwan policy, known as "Hu's six points," Kao noted. The Chinese president proposed his "six points" in January 2009. They refer to: firm adherence to the one-China principle; strengthening commercial ties; promoting personnel exchanges; stressing the common cultural links between the two sides; allowing Taiwan's "reasonable participation" in global organizations; and negotiating a peace agreement. (By Tseng Ying-yu, Li Shu-hua and Ann Chen)