Chiang elected new Chairman of KMT

BEIJING: Chiang Chi-chen was elected as chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party, reported Taiwan media, with the Chinese mainland agency in charge of Taiwan affairs expressing hope that KMT can keep upholding the 1992 Consensus, which reflects adherence to the one-China principle by both sides in their efforts to seek national reunification, and opposing Taiwan separatism.
However, experts from both the Chinese mainland and the island noted that Chiang’s victory would probably mean that the KMT will become more pro-US and localized rather than more friendly to the mainland, as Chiang has made some unfriendly statements about the mainland and he represents the force with a weaker sense of Chinese national identification.
Chiang, 48, KMT “lawmaker” of the island’s “legislature,” announced his bid to run for chairman in January. Chiang will replace Wu Den-yih, who announced his resignation in January following the KMT’s defeat in the island’s regional leadership and legislative elections.
Wu’s resignation forced a by-election to replace him. Chiang’s term is to May 2021 and then the KMT will again start an election process for chairman for a new 4-year term.
After the defeat in January, among the 113 seats in the island’s legislature, the pro-separatism Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) garnered 61 seats while KMT got 38.
Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, said later on Saturday that they noted the result of the KMT chairman election.
“The Communist Party of China and the KMT have jointly promoted the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and boosted interests and happiness for compatriots of the two sides in the past based on the shared political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing Taiwan separatism.”
However, according to Taiwan media reports, Chiang has been identified as a “reformist” with a different view to that of the Chinese mainland and is more localized and pro-US. Taiwan News reported that “In his victory speech, Chiang promised he would realize changes within the party within a year. During the campaign, he hinted the KMT might abandon the “1992 Consensus.”
Chang Ya-chung, a KMT member who ran in the KMT primary for the 2020 Taiwan regional leader election and a professor at National Taiwan University, told the Global Times on Saturday that Chiang represents the island’s local faction in the KMT and has a different political stance to the mainland, and he might not be interested in boosting ties with the mainland, but will have closer ties with the US.
Chiang’s victory could be a symbol that the KMT would be more localized and pro-US and will likely weaken the sense of Chinese national identification, which means it could no longer be a trustworthy partner for the mainland to cooperate, Chang warned.
“The opportunity for cross-Straits peace is reducing and the danger of military conflict is increasing, and this is probably what the US wants to see as it can interrupt China’s great plan to realize national rejuvenation,” he noted.
In September 2019, Chiang met Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong separatist and major activist who participated in the months-long turmoil in the city, in Taiwan, and voiced support to Wong, which has been regarded as hostile move to the mainland, Taiwan media reported.
Zhu said, “Currently, the cross-Straits relationship is very complicated and intense, and we hope, under the leadership of Chairman Chiang, the KMT can treasure and safeguard the existing political foundation with the CPC, to play a role in bridging the two sides of the Taiwan Straits for communication, and keep making efforts to safeguard the peace and stability of the Strait, as well as the interests and happiness of compatriots of both sides.”
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item