Monday, July 13, 2009

President Ma runs for KMT chairmanship

As it stands, Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou is the only candidate vying for the Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship. If elected on July 26th, he will replace the incumbent Wu Po-hsiung on September 12th.

Ma has said his goal in pursuing the chairmanship is to better fulfill his leadership responsibilities. Since announcing his intentions, Taiwan’s media has widely reported that the chairmanship was Ma’s strategy to meet the Chinese Communist Party Chief Hu Jintao through the five-year-old exchange platform between the KMT and Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The United Daily News said it is a natural progression that upon taking the KMT chairmanship, Ma will have an appropriate title and occasion to meet Hu in Beijing. The paper quoted some sources as saying the most appropriate time for such a meeting would be in the summer of 2012 when Ma would begin his second presidential term, if elected, and the fall of that year before Hu is scheduled to retire from his position as General Secretary of the CCP. Whereas others believe it would be more appropriate for them to meet as heads of state, between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013 when Hu is no longer CCP chief, but still holds the title of the President of the nation.

The Commercial Times said in an earlier news analysis that Hu is eager to earn his place in China’s history by pushing Taiwan into unification talks. It cautioned Ma’s government to walk a fine line.

Ma has worked hard to dispel misunderstanding in recent weeks. After promoting “reading traditional Chinese characters, but writing in simplified forms,” his proposal met with a firestorm of criticism from the opposition Democractic Progressive Party (DPP) whose leaders accused him of promoting simplified Chinese to pave the way for unification with China.

Ma clarified that his intention was to reintroduce traditional Chinese in China’s printed materials. Since China originally introduced simplified Chinese to eradicate its high illiteracy rate, but with China’s literacy rate now over 90 percent, the mission of using simplified Chinese is now complete and a reintroduction of traditional Chinese would be fitting.

The United Evening News reported that high-level KMT officials said Ma would not touch on sensitive political negotiations with China during his first presidential term, and sees no plans for a Ma-Hu meeting thus far. Chairman Wu said, “It is premature to talk about the feasibility of a Ma-Hu meeting.”

According to the United Daily News, Ma’s most difficult task is not on improving relations with the CCP, but rather the challenges of dealing with the opposition DPP. The paper commented that the majority KMT party should strive for the people’s support and in nor way jeopardize the confidence of the Taiwanese people nor erode the national consensus in dealing with China.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.