KMT leader to attend cross-strait forum in Beijing

Ms Hung Hsiu-chu's visit to Beijing for the cross-strait forum next month will be her first since she became KMT chairman in March.
Ms Hung Hsiu-chu's visit to Beijing for the cross-strait forum next month will be her first since she became KMT chairman in March.

TAIPEI • The head of Taiwan's China-friendly opposition Kuomintang (KMT) will attend a cross-strait forum in Beijing next month, in the first such visit since the party lost its rule over the island earlier this year.

It will also be the first time that Ms Hung Hsiu-chu visits China since becoming KMT chairman in March, Central News Agency reported yesterday, citing a KMT statement.

The annual forum she is due to attend, while formally named the Cross-Strait Trade, Economy and Culture Forum, is known as the KMT-CCC Forum, as it is a platform for high-level exchanges between the two parties.

Launched in 2006, the event has become an important platform for interactions and dialogue between the two parties, said Mr An Fengshan, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing.

This year's forum, which will begin on Nov 2, will be called the Cross-Strait Peace Development Forum. Mr An said that the change in focus of the forum is the result of the change in political power in Taiwan.

KMT lost to the Democratic Progressive Party in elections in January after eight years in power during which relations between Taiwan and China improved dramatically. Tensions have risen after DPP chief Tsai Ing-wen took office as Taiwan's President in May.

In its statement yesterday, KMT did not say if Ms Hung will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during her trip.

It said Ms Hung wants to "listen to voices from various sectors on both sides of the strait" at the forum.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'KMT leader to attend cross-strait forum in Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe