Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets with KMT Chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu in Beijing on November 1
The mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing welcomed a new guest on October 31, as Hung Hsiu-chu, Chairperson of the Kuomintang (KMT), chose the capital city of Jiangsu Province as the first stop of her first visit to the Chinese mainland as the KMT leader.
Climbing up the 392 steps to the mausoleum despite the rain, Hung and her delegation paid their respects to Sun, the founding father of the KMT and a forerunner of China's anti-feudal revolution.
"Sun Yat-sen's ideology is highly praised on both sides of the Taiwan Straits," Hung said. "I believe we will be able to rejuvenate our nation and improve the livelihood of our people under his spirit. We can certainly work hand in hand to create prosperity in the future."
It was the first official visit to the Chinese mainland by a KMT delegation since Xi Jinping, Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou shook hands in Singapore in November 2015. The Singapore event was the first meeting between the leaders of both sides since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
In January this year, the KMT lost to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the election of Taiwan's leader and since then, cross-Straits relations have been affected.
Hung was elected KMT chairperson in March. Her visit also marked the first by a KMT leader since the party lost the Taiwan leadership contest.
KMT Chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu attends the Cross-Straits Peaceful Development Forum held in Beijing on November 2 (CNSPHOTO)
On November 1, at his meeting with Hung in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi underscored the importance of adhering to the 1992 Consensus, the commitment to the one-China policy made by official delegates from both sides of the Straits in November 1992. He also called for maintaining a peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
Xi put forward a six-point proposal on cross-Straits relations. It included adhering to the 1992 Consensus, opposing the forces supporting "Taiwan independence," promoting social and economic cooperation between the two sides, and working together to carry forward Chinese culture.
"The two parties' contribution to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations has been written in history," Xi added. "The two sides across the Straits have become an integral whole with a common destiny."
Xi also said that changes in Taiwan's political landscape cannot alter the historical facts underlying the 1992 Consensus or its core connotation.
"Whether the 1992 Consensus is acknowledged or not raises the essential question of whether the mainland and Taiwan belong to one country or two. When it comes to this cardinal issue of right or wrong, not the slightest obscurity or wavering is allowed in our stand," he emphasized. "We have always advocated talks on the basis of the one-China principle to put an end to hostility across the Straits and reach a peace agreement. Safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the core national interest, and it is a line that cannot be crossed."
Xi also called for greater cooperation in agriculture and fisheries, and on small and medium-sized enterprises.
"We will, as always, address the actual needs of Taiwan compatriots and seek benefits for them," Xi said. "The CPC and KMT should make the utmost effort to pursue causes that will boost the blood connection of compatriots on both sides, improve their welfare, promote peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and uphold the interests of the entire Chinese nation."
Hung echoed Xi, suggesting the KMT and CPC should continue promoting economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges on the basis of the 1992 Consensus. She said the KMT will discuss and push for the institutionalization of cross-Straits peace, jointly maintain the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties, and bring more well-being to the compatriots.
"Xi's six-point proposal is very good," she told the media. "We need to figure out how to implement it."
Leng Bo, a researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Beijing Review that Xi's six-point proposal indicated the CPC's firm resolve to adhere to the one-China policy. "This time the president used stronger words than before," Leng said. "It shows the resolute opposition to forces supporting 'Taiwan independence' and their activities."
Since the DPP took office in Taiwan, relations across the Straits have reached a "freezing point," Leng said, adding: "The Xi-Hung meeting is significant because it shows the CPC and KMT will keep up exchanges to promote cooperation on both sides and safeguard cross-Straits peace and stability."
Hung Hsiu-chu and the KMT delegation from Taiwan take a group photo in front of the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on October 31 (CNSPHOTO)
On November 2, Hung attended the Cross-Straits Peaceful Development Forum. Also known as the CPC-KMT Forum, the forum has been held 10 times since 2006 and has become an important platform for interaction and dialogue between the two parties.
Held on November 2-3, the forum saw nearly 200 delegates from 20 social organizations on both sides of the Straits discuss politics, the economy, culture, society and youth.
Hung joined panel discussions on the
economy and youth. Since becoming the KMT leader, she has been working to create more opportunities for cross-Straits communication among young people, and while in Beijing, she visited a startup incubator base in the Zhongguancun area of Haidian District.
During his meeting with Hung, Xi also called for creating a better environment for the education and growth of the younger generation on both sides. Encouraging them to engage in early contacts and frequent exchanges will foster kinship, Xi said.
"Improving cross-Straits relations still has many challenges," Leng said. Hung faces daunting pressure from both the KMT and the ruling DPP. The KMT remains divided over its strategy for survival, while the DPP caucus in the local legislature has issued a warning, advising her not to cross "legal red lines." She was also cautioned not to sign any agreement with the mainland during her five-day visit.
However, Xi remains optimistic. "The CPC and KMT, the mainland and Taiwan still have some complicated political disagreements, which will have to be solved eventually in a phased manner," he said. "With resolve and sincerity, solutions will be found."
Timeline of Historic Cross-Straits Meetings
April 1993: Wang Daohan, then head of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Koo Chen-fu, Chairperson of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), met in Singapore, paving the way for better cross-Straits ties.
March 2005: The first ever KMT delegation from Taiwan since 1949 visited the mainland led by then KMT Vice Chairperson Chiang Pin-kung.
April 2005: Lien Chan, then KMT Chairperson, met with Hu Jintao, then General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, on the mainland. It was the first meeting between the top leaders of the CPC and KMT in 60 years.
April 2008: Hu Jintao met with Vincent Siew, Chairperson of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province.
June 2008: Then KMT Vice Chairperson Chiang Pin-kung, who was also the SEF chairperson, met with then ARATS Chairperson Chen Yunlin in Beijing.
2008-2009: Then KMT Chairperson Wu Po-hsiung visited the mainland twice, meeting with Hu on both trips.
February 2013: Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, met with Lien Chan, then honorary KMT chairperson.
May 2015: Xi met with former KMT Chairperson Eric Chu. Chu was the first KMT chairperson to set foot on the mainland since 1949 at a time when the KMT was Taiwan's ruling party.
September 2015: Xi met with Lien again. This time, Lien was invited to attend the parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII at Tian'anmen Square on September 3.
November 2015: Xi met with Ma Ying-jeou, then Taiwan leader. They held a historic face-to-face meeting in Singapore. It was the first between the leaders of the two sides since 1949. The meeting also endorsed the high-level political consensus to adhere to the 1992 Consensus. The two sides further agreed to cooperate for the revival of the Chinese nation as the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are of Chinese descent.
November 2016: Xi met with Hung Hsiu-chu, Chairperson of the KMT, in Beijing. Xi put forward a six-point proposal on cross-Straits relations.
Xi Jinping's Six-Point Proposal on Cross-Straits Ties
- Adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which affirms the one-China principle;
- Resolutely opposing the forces supporting "Taiwan independence" and their activities;
- Promoting the integrated social and economic development of cross-Straits societies;
- Working together to carry forward Chinese culture;
- Boosting the well-being of people across the Taiwan Straits;
- Dedication to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation concertedly.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org