Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou Thursday said he would keep the cooperation platform between the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) after he became KMT chair. “The KMT-CPC cooperation platform will be continued after I am elected KMT chair, and I hope not just the KMT, but other parties (in Taiwan) can join us in communicating with the CPC in the future,” he said.
He said it was necessary for Taiwan to keep open as many communication channels with China as possible, given that bilateral trade beween the two sides has already reached 130 billion US dollars a year.
In addition to the platform, the two sides have each set up a semi-official body to represent their governments in talks in the absence of formal relations.
Taiwan and China had been political rivals since the Nationalists were defeated at the end of a civil war by the Chinese Communists and fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Bilateral relations have improved since former KMT chair Lien Chan visited China and set up the KMT-CPC platform in 2005 along with China President Hu Jintao, who doubles as CPC leader.
Cross-strait ties further improved after Ma became president last year and adopted a policy of engaging China.
Ma made the comments at a news conference held after officially entering his candidacy for the top post Thursday. As he is the lone candidate in the campaign, he is tipped to win the election to be held on July 26 and will officially replace Wu Poh-hsiung as KMT chair on September 6.