Taiwan's KMT should be barred from Straits Forum

Opposition party has no mandate to speak with China on Taiwan's behalf and risk national security


(CNA photo)

KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) – It has been an extremely difficult year for the Kuomintang (KMT).

Its populist candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) was heavily defeated in the presidential elections and then recalled as Kaohsiung mayor. The KMT candidate in the subsequent by-election, Li Mei-jhen (李眉蓁), was humiliated and hemorrhaged more than three-quarters of the votes secured by her predecessor.

The underlying message from all these defeats has been clear. The people of Taiwan will not vote for a party that is pushing for closer links with the Chinese regime.

So, how has the KMT reacted to this loud and clear message? They are off to Xiamen in China to chat with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the so-called Straits Forum.

If you listen to the KMT’s statements, we should be grateful for this. They are “shouldering the heavy burden” of representing Taiwan and working toward cross-strait peace, according to their own delusional perspective.

Lines of communication

It is important at this juncture to remember the democratically elected government of Taiwan and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) have always said they are happy to have a dialogue with China. It is the CCP that has shut down all lines of communication because Taiwan elected a government that will not pander to its demands.

So the KMT is not shouldering any burden at all. What it is doing is traveling to a hostile foreign state that has plans to invade and annex Taiwan, with no democratic mandate to conduct discussions on behalf of this country.

This is quite remarkable, especially when you consider that it was only a couple of weeks ago the party refused to meet with diplomats from Taiwan’s closest political ally and protector, the U.S., in their own back yard. Their excuse about schedule clashes rang hollow given their vocal condemnation of recent trade agreements between the two countries.

The question is, how should the Taiwan government respond to this astonishing situation?

Taiwan’s long-standing commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of expression is laudable and the fact that this extends to the various CCP stooges who hang around Taipei 101 and other parts of the country waving the Chinese flag and condemning Taiwan’s freedoms and democracy is commendable.

Serious repercussions

But surely this tolerance cannot extend to an opposition party that is planning to visit a hostile nation, Taiwan’s biggest national security threat, to plot and fraternize with a totalitarian regime? The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Such are the sensitivities of cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China that there should be a requirement in Taiwan that all engagement is carried out through official government channels. Unelected opposition parties must not be allowed to swan over to China and talk about matters of national importance whenever they see fit.

The Taiwan government should bar the KMT from sending any representatives to this Straits Forum or any other event at which the CCP is represented. If the KMT defies this order, then its delegation should face legal charges for endangering national security on returning to Taiwan.

During the Cold War, the U.S. did not tolerate opposition politicians engaging with the Soviet regime. During World War II, the British did not let politicians set off on junkets to Nazi Germany to have a chat with Hitler.

Taiwan should not let opposition politicians engage with the CCP, and those who do should face serious repercussions.