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China looks to help KMT win public support ahead of 2024 Taiwan presidential election

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb12’23) – China and Taiwan have expressed willingness to promote exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Straits, as well as to adhere to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, and opposes “Taiwan independence,” according to China’s official globaltimes.cn Feb 10. However, the expression of willingness is not official, as the party on the Taiwanese side was not its government but a delegation of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) leadership.

The occasion was a Feb 10 meeting between Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Andrew Hsia, vice chairman of the KMT, in Beijing.

Hsia’s meeting with Wang, and before that, with Song Tao, head of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, shows that the mainland attaches great importance to the KMT visit, and may let more Taiwan people feel the benefits of the 1992 Consensus more directly, the report said.

Noting that compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits had a strong desire for normal exchanges, Wang has said priority should be given to resume normal cross-Straits exchanges at an early date.

He has stressed that the two parties should further consolidate their common political foundations – upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing “Taiwan independence,” deepen political mutual trust, maintain positive interactions, firmly oppose separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence” and external interference in Taiwan affairs, and jointly safeguard peace and stability across the Straits.

Ruling out any prospect for dealing with the ruling party in Taiwan, Wang Jianmin, a senior expert in cross-Straits affairs at Minnan Normal University in Fujian Province, has said, “Only the KMT is capable of promoting cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation, as the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are firmly opposed to the 1992 Consensus, resulting in the halting of communication channels.”

The report cited Cross-Straits observers as saying the most important basis for Hsia’s meeting with Wang was the KMT’s clear statement of its political stance of opposing “Taiwan independence.”

A significant purpose of the visit of Hsia, a former head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, is to solve the problems being encountered by Taiwan businessmen, farmers and fishermen in exporting agricultural products to the mainland due to the current difficulties in cross-Straits exchanges.

If the concerns of cross-Straits trade and business from the island can be properly addressed, it will be of great significance for the KMT in gaining public support on the island, Wang Jianmin has said, apparently referring to the upcoming, 2024 presidential election in Taiwan.

Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, reviled by China, is ineligible to seek a third term.


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