KMT’s Lien defends confederation proposal

The China Post staff

Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan yesterday defended his confederation proposal, saying it was meant to direct Taiwan towards unification with mainland China. But he maintained confederation is neither a change to Taiwan’s status quo, nor the only direction and model. Lien made the remarks during a ceremony marking the completion of training classes for the KMT elite. The chairman has been trying to reset the course for the KMT by advocating a cross-strait confederation, but many party heavyweights have argued that the model is too controversial to be incorporated into the KMT platform. Yesterday he tried again to sell his idea to the young elite. He said that Beijing’s “one country, two systems, model for unification is unacceptable to Taiwan. The Chen administration has failed to spell out the goal and course of its mainland policy, not because it does not have them, but because they cannot admit what they really have in mind, Lien said. Lien apparently referred to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s pro-independence cause, which it has played down in recent years to attract voters, and to appease Beijing.

Before achieving the confederation, both sides of the strait still have a long way to go building trust between their armed forces, solving trade problems, defusing hostility and exchanging visits among high-ranking officials, he said. Only after all these have been achieved could Taiwan and the mainland come under the framework of a “common roof,” which is the long-term goal, he said. A rough road lies ahead of Lien’s mainland policy, as a group of so-called pro-localization KMT members under the sponsorship of ex-Chairman Lee Teng-hui has threatened to breakaway. Apparently blasting the Lee group without naming them, Lien turned the focus of his talks by criticizing “some people” for attempting to fan ethnic confrontation. Lien said that some “evil-disposed” politicians are planning to form a new political group attempting to “divide the country along ethnic lines.”

He expressed “regret” over the behavior of these politicians and described their plans as “deplorable” because the politicians are former KMT members.

Although Lien did not identify the politicians to whom he was referring, his criticism was apparently directed against former Minister of the Interior Huang Chu-wen, who has decided to form a new political group with the endorsement of former Lee.

The KMT chief noted that the KMT adopts a middle-of-the-road policy and has become a “localized” party in Taiwan with the country’s best interests its top priority.

Regarding complaints that he has deviated from the “Lee Teng-hui route,” Lien contended that “there is no individual route in the KMT,” claiming instead that “the party’s policy is based on public opinion.”