Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday called on Taipei and Beijing to resume dialogue, describing COVID-19 as “the common enemy.”
At a weekly meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee, which was held virtually, Chiang said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world and taken the lives of people from across different countries, races, and religious and political beliefs.
The virus, which continues to mutate, has repeatedly tested the limits of biomedical science and the ability of public health systems, he added.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) via CNA
“Winning this battle would require all of humankind to abandon their prejudices, and help one another and cooperate,” he said.
“In the face of the unprecedented global humanitarian crisis, the current predicament should be an opportunity to loosen the cross-strait deadlock and restart dialogue,” he said.
“It should not be a catalyst to deepen the barrier,” Chiang added.
The two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been ruled separately for many years and under different political systems; they have obtained different achievements, he said.
They must also face their differences and internal contradictions, he said.
The pandemic should have been a time for Taiwan and China to “demonstrate the brilliance of humanity, set aside differences, understand each other and work together to fight the virus,” Chiang said.
However, over the past year, not only has the opportunity been missed, but there has also been the use of what he described as “all kinds of sharp language and unnecessary military exercises.”
Those have “pushed up the spiral of maliciousness again and again,” he said, calling it a “pity.”
“The common enemy before us is the virus,” Chiang said. “In the presence of the humanitarian concern of the global virus threat, we do not need to oppose, confront or even fight each other first.”
In Taiwan, people are dying every day because of COVID-19, he said, adding that countless others are at home or in hospitals waiting for life to return to normal.
He cited a survey conducted late last month by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center, which showed that 68 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the government’s vaccine procurement efforts.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents were willing to receive “a vaccine from the original German factory brought in through a mainland Chinese agent,” Chiang said.
He urged the Democratic Progressive Party administration to “first put aside other political considerations, treat and accept the goodwill expressed by various parties positively, and remove any unnecessary political or administrative procedural obstacles.”
Beijing, on the other hand, should not make “unnecessary political interpretations” about Taiwan’s efforts to secure vaccines from various places, he said, adding that authorities on the two sides have a chance to create more positive possibilities for dialogue and exchange in the post-pandemic period.
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