Lien Chan, a former vice president of Taiwan who holds an honorary chairmanship of the ruling Kuomintang party, has become entangled in a controversy that is placing the island democracy’s politics on the edge.
After receiving lavish VIP treatment in the Chinese capital, Mr. Lien returned to Taiwan and announced his “vision for a future China-Taiwan relationship” that many observers say amounts to a surrender to communist demands for the annexation of Taiwan.
Mr. Lien is Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s closest Kuomintang associate, and they share a similar political and executive background. Mr. Ma already has suffered a voter backlash for his pro-Beijing policies.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party immediately cried foul over the Lien vision statement, calling it treacherous and asking Mr. Ma to clarify whether Mr. Lien’s stance represents the views of the presidential office.
“There was no official message President Ma Ying-jeou asked Mr. Lien to convey to Beijing except to say hello to Mr. Hu Jintao and Mr. Xi Jinping,” Ms. Li said, referring to China’s leaders. “Mr. Lien never mentioned his 16-Chinese-character vision statement to President Ma.”
The official denial drew instant fire from Mr. Lien’s chief of staff, Ting Yuen-chao, who said Mr. Lien briefed the president on his visit, and charged the president’s office with abandoning the concept of “one China,” “peace on both sides” and “a Chinese revival.”
Carrier gets new home port
China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived Feb. 27 at its new home port after sailing from Dalian in northeast China to Qingdao, home of the Chinese navy’s Northern Fleet in the eastern province of Shandong.
At the time of its commissioning in September, the Liaoning was rumored to be headed for a home port somewhere along the South China Sea, where China had just experienced a bruising summer of discontent with its maritime neighbors, especially the Philippines.