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KMT's Chu has less baggage in possible meeting with China's Xi: paper

KMT's Chu has less baggage in possible meeting with China's Xi: paper

Beijing, Jan. 19 (CNA) Few factors stand in the way of a potential meeting between Eric Chu (???), the mayor of New Taipei and the new chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang, and China's leader Xi Jinping (???), China-backed media pointed out Monday. After Chu's election to lead the party Saturday, Xi immediately sent a congratulatory message in his capacity as head of the Communist Party of China, which the People's Daily's overseas edition said showed the expectations of Chinese authorities toward the new KMT head. The KMT's direction of broad exchanges with China will likely remain unchanged, but "what everyone is watching now will be how Chu will start on cross-strait affairs," the paper said. The People's Daily article is noteworthy because the paper is a mouthpiece for the Communist Party and often reflects its policies. It is a big departure from China's cold attitude toward suggestions by President Ma Ying-jeou (???) -- who headed the KMT until December last year -- that he could meet Xi in what would be a historic event. One of the big issues preventing that from moving ahead was Ma's unwillingness to meet Xi as the heads of their respective parties. But the sensitive relationship between Taiwan and China means a meeting between two "presidents" would be off the table as well. KMT leadership has met with China's leaders before, but never when the KMT was the ruling party in Taiwan. As New Taipei mayor, Chu would need "only to stress his capacity as KMT chairman and have no misgivings like Ma Ying-jeou," the People's Daily wrote. It said that with Chu now leading the KMT, the thing to watch in the short term will be the arrangement of a forum between the two parties, and in the medium term it will be whether the long-stalled cross-strait services trade pact can clear Taiwan's Legislature. "But in the long-term, undoubtedly, people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will be most concerned about the prospects of a Xi-Chu meeting, which to a certain degree represents a peak in a stage of cross-strait exchanges," the People's Daily asserted. It noted the significance such a meeting would have, as cross-strait relations have seen swift growth over the past few years but exchanges between KMT and CPC leadership have been limited. "There aren't even exchanges between secretary general-level officials on the two parties, which will be unfavorable to cement KMT-CPC ties, not to mention further development." If Chu expresses his intention for a meeting, "the heads of the two parties shaking hands would be a landmark and a breakthrough in the history of cross-strait exchanges." Judging from his personal style, "Chu could be more flexible and pragmatic in handling cross-strait policy issues" than his predecessor, the paper said, "and because he has expressed that he will not run in the 2016 presidential election, there will be fewer considerations over election factors." (By Chou Hui-ying and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-19 04:02 GMT+08:00