Taiwan's KMT party chairman shares thoughts on canceled China trip

Kuomintang Chairman Johnny Chiang states he will 'never let Taiwan or the KMT be insulted'

KMT Party Chairman Johnny Chiang.

KMT Party Chairman Johnny Chiang. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) party Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) on Monday (Sept. 15) said that reciprocity and dignified exchanges across the Taiwan Strait are the party’s long-term goals and stressed that he will never let Taiwan or the KMT be insulted.

The KMT had originally planned to send a delegation led by former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to the annual Straits Forum in Xiamen, China, in an attempt to revive cross-strait dialogue, which has been non-existent since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was voted into office in 2016. However, China Central Television (CCTV) described Wang as a “messenger” for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and said he would undertake the trip to China to “beg for peace.”

In response, the party expressed its dissatisfaction by canceling the trip, as it had not received an apology from the CCTV host or related persons. The chairman of the Kuomintang Culture and Communications Committee, Wang Yu-min (王育敏), stated at a press conference Monday that the "beg for peace" comment had changed the tone of cross-strait exchanges, CNA reported.

“The current overall atmosphere is not conducive to exchanges and dialogue between the two sides,” Wang remarked, adding that “The KMT, therefore, has decided not to participate in the Strait Forum as a political party.”

Later that evening, Chiang posted on Facebook that “any improper comments and actions are enough to cause serious harm to the hard-earned goodwill and mutual trust between the two sides of the strait.” He also mentioned that “The Straits Forum’s decision-making must be weighed by multiple parties, and more importantly, it is necessary to consider the changes to the current [cross-strait] situation.”

Chiang also pointed out that the KMT advocates "cross-strait reciprocity and exchanges with dignity,” stating, “Dignity is won by itself — others cannot give it to you.” He noted that "Peace cannot be begged for; peace that is obtained by begging is just hanging by a thread."

Chiang said the current fragility of mutual trust across the strait requires support and effort from both sides. He stressed that he has been loyal to the “Republic of China” throughout his life and has always insisted on continuing to interact and communicate with China on the premise of reciprocity and dignity.

However, he stressed that he will never let Taiwan or the KMT be insulted. He concluded by thanking the relevant departments and individuals on both sides for their efforts toward the exchange and wished the Straits Forum a smooth success.

Johnny Chiang's Facebook post