Taiwan opposition chief in no rush to meet with China By Reuters

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2/2 © Reuters. Johnny Chiang, the newly elected chairman of Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, speaks during a press conference in Taipei 2/2

By Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee TAIPEI (Reuters) – The leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), said on Tuesday that he is in no rush to travel to China to meet with President Xi Jinping, and that the proposals from Beijing to get Taiwan to accept The communist government “had no market” on the island. The KMT ruled China before withdrawing to Taiwan at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949. While ties across the Taiwan Strait have improved dramatically over the past three decades, Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory. The KMT was defeated in presidential and parliamentary elections last year, unable to shake off accusations by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (NYSE 🙂 that they were lackeys of Beijing. Johnny Chiang, elected as the leader after the party’s defeat, told Reuters he was in no rush to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and visit Beijing to meet with the longtime adversary of the Communist Party and its leader Xi. “We can wait, for a better time. There is no insistence on it. It is not just a meeting for the sake of meetings, but it must be meaningful, respectful,” he said at the party headquarters in central Taipei, adding that the pandemic also triggered hard travels now. “The timing must be right, but more importantly, there must be the precondition of equality and dignity, and it must be beneficial to Taiwan.” Chiang said they had routine contacts with the Communist Party, but there had been no high-level communication. Xi met then-President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in 2015 in a historic meeting, shortly before current President Tsai Ing-wen first gained power. That meeting was projected as a meeting between the heads of the Communist Party and the KMT rather than one between heads of state. But political trust has “collapsed” since then, and small problems have turned into slanderous clashes between Taipei and Beijing, Chiang said. It faces an uphill struggle to regain voter support at a time when Chinese pressure on Taiwan is relentless and many voters feel that the KMT, whose name literally translates to the Chinese Nationalist Party, is not properly Taiwanese. In July he faces re-election as party leader, although he reiterated that he has no interest in running for the presidency and that he would rather act like a “kingmaker” when choosing his candidate for the 2024 elections. But be firm with the election. China’s autocratic will be a major factor. Proof of whether the KMT can return to power: Chiang described China as the main threat facing Taiwan. Chiang said China’s offer to use “one country, two systems” to attract Taiwan with a high degree of autonomy, such as the way Beijing is supposed to run unrest-hit Hong Kong, has no “market” in it. the island, where people like their freedoms. “We are already used to this kind of lifestyle. If you want the people of Taiwan to change it, it is impossible.”

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