Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said
By Lin Liang-sheng and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based.
The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Following the lead of KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), the party is to seek “value” in its relations with the US and China, party sources said.
The AIT had invited five officials, including Chiang, to a luncheon, which political commentators speculated was related to the KMT’s opposition to US meat imports, but the KMT put off the meeting, citing scheduling conflicts.
Chiang has said that the KMT hopes to improve communication with the US, and that one way it sought to do so was through a representative office there, but has had difficulty managing the large expense of such an endeavor.
Having two KMT members stationed in the US would cost the party a minimum of US$500,000 per year, which includes rent and personnel costs, party sources said.
Sentiment within the KMT was that there were no problems with its relationship with either the US or China, but that media speculation had caused confusion about the party’s stance in withdrawing from the Straits Forum and in its delay in meeting with the AIT, the sources said.
The party felt it was appropriate to withdraw from the forum due to Chinese media equating its planned attendance to “suing for peace,” and its absence from the AIT luncheon was simply due to timing, but the KMT hopes to have another opportunity to attend, they said.
On major Taiwan-US issues, the KMT has been supportive of the “reasonable” procurement of military equipment from the US and US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach’s visit to Taiwan, but on the issue of US meat imports, it was only opposed to products containing ractopamine, party sources said.
Regarding China, the party supports cross-strait exchanges, which is why it had initially planned to attend the Straits Forum, they said.
There are some KMT members who take an anti-US stance, but they do not represent the party’s official position on the US, they added.
The party has rejected a statement by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office that recent Chinese military activity near Taiwan was intended to protect “national sovereignty,” the sources said.
The KMT also plans to be more vocal in its opposition to the use of concentration camps in Xinjiang if clear evidence of the camps surfaced, they added.
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