KMT chairman to visit China

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung of the incoming ruling Kuomintang (KMT) is scheduled to visit China May 26-31 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), marking the highest-level contact between leaders of the ruling parties across the Taiwan Strait. KMT Secretary General Wu Den-yi told a press conference that chairman Wu has accepted the invitation from Hu as he has fully felt the Chinese leader’s sincerity to promote cross-strait ties and his goodwill.” For cross-Strait peace and for Taiwan’s security, Wu has accepted the invitation to visit China,” he said. Hu’s inviting Chairman Wu shows that mainland China sees Ma’s taking office on May 20 as the emergence of a new domestic and cross-strait development. “During the six-day visit, Wu will express his condolences to China’s earthquake victims on behalf of the Taiwan government and people, and will put forward his views on how Taiwan and China can build trust and work for the common interests of the Taiwanese and Chinese people,” the secretary general said.

Wu will become the island’s first ruling party chief to visit China as President-elect Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT takes office on May 20. He will lead a 25-member delegation to visit Shanghai and Beijing, with members including party vice chairmen John Kuan and Lin Feng-cheng, party secretary general Wu Denyi, speakers of the Taipei City Council, Kaohsiung City Council and Taipei County Council, and other party cadres. Taiwan scholars see Hu’s invitation as positive for cross-Strait ties after Ma Ying-jeou, also from the KMT, is sworn in as new president on May 20. Chang Ya-chung, a professor of politics from the National Taiwan University, said Taiwan’s prompt and generous aid to China’s quake victims had touched Chinese leaders, prompting the invitation. “By inviting Hu to visit China one week after Ma’s inauguration, Hu has shown the greatest sincerity and goodwill towards Taiwan. It’s very clear that Hu wants the CCP and KMT to cooperate and hopes this cooperation can influence the Ma government’s policies towards China,” he reports.

Ma won a crushing victory over the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate Frank Hsieh on March 22, which ushered the KMT back into power after eight years.

Since then, vice president elect Vincent Siew and former KMT chairman Lien Chan have travelled to the mainland and met Hu. Ma’s incoming government is eyeing July 4 for the start of weekend direct charter flights cross the Taiwan Strait and also plans to let in more mainland tourists and allow wider convertibility of the Chinese yuan. Lien first met Hu in April 2005 as chairman of the KMT when it was an opposition party, ending 56 years of hostilities with the communists.