Taiwan’s KMT calls off mainland China trip over CCTV headline

16-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan’s main opposition party has called off plans to attend an annual forum on the mainland after state broadcaster CCTV refused to apologise for a programme headline.

Wang Jin-pyng, the former speaker of Taiwan’s legislature, had been expected to head a Kuomintang delegation at the cross-strait forum in Xiamen from Saturday but the attendance has been cancelled.

The cancellation was prompted by uproar on the self-ruled island over a headline on a mainland CCTV current affairs programme on Thursday, which read: “With the [Taiwan] strait on the brink of war, this man [Wang] is coming to beg for peace.”

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

The headline immediately drew criticism from the island’s public and politicians, including those of the KMT and the ruling independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, with the headline seen as highly insulting and contemptuous of the Taiwanese.

President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang urged the KMT to boycott the event.

The KMT later asked for an apology from CCTV, but the demand was not met.

Facing mounting criticism, the KMT announced on Monday that it would not “send an official delegation” or “take part in the event in the name of the party”.

“The KMT originally decided to accept the invitation [from the event's organisers], hoping it could open a door to peaceful cross-strait dialogue and promote civilian cross-strait exchanges,” KMT spokeswoman Wang Yu-min said.

“This was why it announced on September 8 that former speaker Wang Jin-pyng would represent the KMT and lead the delegation to the 12th Straits Forum with Lee Chien-lung, KMT secretary general, as the deputy leader.”

She said cross-strait relations were very complicated and sensitive and any inappropriate comment or action would seriously hurt goodwill and mutual trust between the two sides.

She stressed it had always been the KMT’s position that all cross-strait exchanges must be carried out on equal terms and with dignity.

But she also said that as the forum was a civilian event, the KMT would not bar any of its members from going if they wish to attend in a private capacity.

Wang Jin-pyng said that if the party decided against it, he certainly would not go.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province subject to eventual union by force if necessary, has suspended official exchanges with Taipei since Tsai was elected president in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle.

Tsai’s administration has also banned Taiwanese attending mainland events that involve the island’s sovereignty and national dignity.

The forum usually focuses on business and cultural affairs but some mainland Chinese attendees have commented in the past on political issues such as unification.



Category: Taiwan

Print This Post