Opposition DPP opposes the maneuvering of ‘2nd channel’


TAIPEI, Taiwan — An opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight said Sunday that the DPP opposes the so-called “second channel” or “track 2” communication approach that the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) is employing to forge the China policy of the KMT administration which has been in office for just five days.

William Lai, a DPP legislative caucus whip, said the DPP caucus is opposed to the KMT directing the administration’s China policy.

Lai was referring to KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung’s upcoming visit to China, during which Wu is expected to meet with Chinese President and Communist Party of China Chairman Hu Jintao for talks on affairs of public concern, including the opening of direct cross-strait charter flight services between Taiwan and China and the admission of Chinese tourists to Taiwan.

The Wu-Hu meeting, likely to take place Tuesday or Wednesday, will mark the first formal contact between the ruling parties on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait since 1949, when Taiwan split from mainland China after a civil war.

Lai warned Wu and the other members of the KMT delegation that will visit China May 26-31 not to compromise the interests of Taiwan and its people.

The planned Wu-Hu meeting is dubbed as a KMT-CPC engagement, but the two party leaders will discuss “national affairs,” and they will avoid using any national titles for either side, Lai noted. “This is unethical,” he added.

He also argued that before Ma Ying-jeou assumed presidency and before Lai Shin-yuan, a former legislator of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union, became the chairwoman in charge of the Mainland Affairs Council under Ma’s administration, they were opposed to the idea of party-to-party engagements, or a “second channel” of communication across the Taiwan Strait.

The DPP legislator said that now both Ma and Lai Shin-yuan are expressing support for the KMT’s efforts to seek closer engagements with the CPC and its maneuvering to create a “second channel” of communication across the strait.

“Ma and Lai Shin-yuan’s change of heart could have come as result of intimidation by Beijing,” Lai suggested.

The KMT and the CPC have had close contacts since then opposition KMT Chairman Lien Chan met with Hu Jintao in late April 2005.

Critics of the Lien-Hu meeting and the upcoming Wu-Hu meeting contend that this approach gives China the opportunity to divide Taiwan internally and downgrade its sovereignty by emphasizing party-to-party talks rather than government-to-government negotiations.

Meanwhile,the DPP whip described as “totally ridiculous” President Ma’s request Saturday that Wu relay to Hu Taiwan’s willingness to “assist in the relief efforts in earthquake-stricken areas in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan,” by providing aid for the mental rehabilitation of quake survivors, donating funds to help survivors and their children get back on their feet, and funding the reconstruction of some devastated areas.

“The KMT is paying closer attention to the Chinese people than to the Taiwanese people, many of whom need help as well, “ the DPP legislator charged.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan May 12 has resulted in a confirmed death toll of more than 60,000, and that number could rise to 80,000 or more, according to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Saturday.