|Wu, left, and Xi, right, meet in Beijing last week|
As he faces China’s leader across the long wooden table, a gigantic mural of tall mountains, valleys and temples as a backdrop, there are two ways of looking at the significance of this pudgy envoy and what his presence there means for the future of Taiwan.
The first is to regard former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) as a threat. The man no longer has a position in office, nor did Taiwanese elevate him to some position with their votes. No, Wu is like a shadow, operating behind the scenes and free, it seems, of the restraints that apply to elected party officials or government figures.
Across from him sits Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) and a few CCP cronies. Wu and Xi are heading a KMT-CCP summit in Beijing, the first since Xi’s ascension to the leadership. Wu is accompanied by former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) — a Beijing regular — KMT Deputy Chairman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former KMT vice chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏). This is, we are told, the first meeting to be held under the “one China” framework rather than the so-called “1992 consensus.”
As expected, Wu said everything that Beijing wanted to hear, and in the days that followed last week’s meetings, the CCP promised a whole new series of measures to win the “hearts and minds” of Taiwanese.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.