Zhang meets Chen: Cross-strait affairs no longer exclusive province of KMT
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-23 02:31 PM
Zhang Zhijun, the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, is scheduled to meet with members of both the blue and green camps during a four-day stay in Taiwan in which he will travel to areas around Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. One observer of the Green camp and the Taiwan political scene points out that "one significant aspect of the visit is that Zhang Zhijun is attempting to inject normalization and institutionalization into official cross-strait exchanges. His meeting with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, a heavyweight in the DPP, represents a breakthrough in relations between China and the DPP. From this day on, the KMT no longer has a monopoly on the right to speak out on cross-strait issues."

The commenter notes that Zhang’s willingness to speak with Chen Chu basically set the tone for further developments in relations between China and the Green camp. It would seem to indicate that CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping has instructed Zhang Zhijun that in areas of cross-strait relations, China is gradually seeking to end the KMT monopoly on maintaining a dialogue with the other side.

He said that regardless of how China and the DPP feel, the KMT monopoly of discussions of cross-strait issues should be ended so that the two sides will have a window for discussing the situation. Otherwise continued monopolization of the discourse can only lead to biased results in cross-strait relations.

Zhang’s contact with Chen Chu is notable in that it comes a couple of weeks after a visit to Shanghai by DPP Mayor William Lai of Tainan. Lai’s visit was a breakthrough of its own, albeit at a lower city-to-city level. Yet it opens the door for more exchanges and discussions between the two sides.

Technically many of Zhang’s visits this week involve people at the municipal level – Eric Chu of New Taipei City, Chen Chu in Kaohsiung and Jason Hu in Taichung. But Chen Chu stands out as she is from the deep south in Taiwan rather than the north, she is one of the island's most important political figures, and she is also a founding member of the DPP.

In addition, Chen Chu is a member of the DPP Central Standing Committee and what she has to say on cross-strait issues will bear considerable weight. If Zhang’s visit this week brings about positive interaction on both sides and long-term stable developments, notes the commenter, it will certainly work to the advantage of both sides of the strait and will also be to the advantage of the people of Taiwan.

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