Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said that it is “inappropriate” for former Vice President Lien Chan to be traveling to Beijing for the upcoming “Victory Day” parade on September 3.
Lien, ex-chairman of the Kuomintang, flew out to the Chinese capitol yesterday along with a political envoy, including Chang Jung-kung, former Vice Secretary-general of the KMT. They are scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 1 for the purpose of pursuing “peace in the Taiwan Strait and stability in the region,” according to Chang.
This is despite Ma criticizing the move at a polling station in Taipei just a day before.
“It is not appropriate [for Lien] to attend, and that is the stance of the Republic of China [ROC] government,” he told reporters outside the Taipei City Council building on Saturday.
Chang had told his fellow KMT party members that Lien will stick to “appropriate accounts” of the historical events and act positively on Xi’s call to, “make use of historical materials together and write history books together.”
“If there is an absence of cross-strait communication and common research and both sides hold to their respective narratives, a consensus is impossible,” Chang was quoted as saying.
Many KMT party members have expressed opposition to Lien’s initiative to work with the CCP on a shared historical narrative, and Vice President Wu Den-yih remarked that while it was unnecessary for him to repeat previous official statements, there’s “only one thing to say, which is that the eight-year War of Resistance Against Japan was won and led by the ROC with its leader Chiang Kai-shek…”
He added that if Lien does go to Beijing, he should “resolutely speak the truth about history so as to live up to what Taiwanese and ROC citizens expect of Lien and the government.”
He faces more critical opposition from other members of the party. KMT Legislator Alex Fai deplored, “Forgive me for my bluntness, but I think [former] chairman Lien should not go. The Chinese Communist Party wants to seize the [rights to interpret] history concerning the eight-year resistance war by celebrating it with a military parade, and that would hurt too many people’s feelings.”
Lien was born in Shaanxi province in 1936 and moved to Taiwan with his family during the civil war. Since his landmark meeting with Hu Jintao in 2005, Lien has also been criticized for collaborating in a five-point “vision for cross-strait peace”.
Lien held the position as vice-president to the ROC from 1996-2000, but he failed in his own presidential campaign for the following elections. Tomorrow’s meeting with Xi is just one in a long list of unpopular moves from the aging diplomat.
The V-day events on September 3 are looking like an exhibition of China’s military power and diplomats from 40 to 50 nations will be in attendance. Chang says he and Lien, like the other nations, are very wary of China’s militarism.
by Daniel Cunningham