[FOUNTAIN]Nationalists, Communists together again“I will collaborate with anyone,” said Sun Yat-sen, the “Father of Modern China,” when he negotiated the first united front between his Kuomintang party and the Communist Party of China. The slogan then was “Defeat Imperialism and Subdue the Warlords.”
That first alliance ended after three years, when Chiang Kai-shek launched a purge of Communists in 1927. But nine years later, in what became known as the Xian Incident, Generalissimo Chiang was kidnapped in his nightgown by one of his generals and forced to agree to the second united front between the Communists and the Kuomintang. Unlike Mr. Chiang, the general who kidnapped him believed resisting the invading Japanese was more urgent than fighting Communists. But the year after Japan’s defeat, that second alliance fell apart too.
The third united front between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party began yesterday, with the historic meeting in Beijing between Kuomintang Party Chairman Lien Chan and Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. It was the first meeting of the two parties’ leaders in 60 years, since Chairman Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek met in Chungking in 1945.
Much, of course, has changed. One big difference is the reduced status of Kuomintang, which once fought for the continent and today is a minority party even in Taiwan. It has been five years since it lost power to the Democratic Progressive Party. But the Chinese Communists have been going to great lengths to welcome him.
In all three alliances between the Chinese Communists and the Kuomintang, the mutual object of resistance has been a foreign influence ― namely, Japan. In the first two alliances, Japan was an enemy to be fought, and it comes up again in the background of the third united front.
In February, Japan and the United States issued a joint statement encouraging a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue. The two nations came close to declaring their intent to interfere in the matter. The Chinese Communists, whose ultimate goal is reunification of Taiwan and China, were shocked and furious.
In keeping with its traditional strategy of building alliances, the party has again played the Kuomintang card.
Anti-Japanese sentiment is still a force to ally Nationalists and Communists. Before he died, Sun Yat-sen said the revolution had yet to succeed and that the Chinese had to continue their struggle. The last words of the “Father of Modern China” are still valid.
by You Sang-cheol
The writer is a deputy international news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.