Mon, Nov 20, 2000 - Page 1 News List

DPP told to clarify`one China' stance

UNITY OF THOUGHT Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh said that leaders of the DPP need to agree on a government policy in the face of China's saber-rattling

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) said yesterday that leaders within the DPP should come to a consensus as to the meaning the government accepts for the "one China" principle. Lee said that tensions across the Taiwan Strait make finding common ground on the issue important.

"Time is not on our side and, therefore, Taiwan cannot continue to project an ambiguous stance on the question of `one China' to Beijing," Lee told DPP leaders during a closed-door dinner meeting on Saturday night.

Lee attended the dinner after finishing discussions with the President's Advisory Group on Cross Strait Relations (兩岸跨黨派小組). Members of the group spent nearly five hours talking about how to deal with the issue of "one China," but failed to come to any firm conclusions.

Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who has long advocated independence for Taiwan, agreed with Lee yesterday, saying that the party should understand the necessity to obey the Constitution, which is based on the principle of "one China."

"Since the DPP has participated in the process of amending the Constitution over the past few years, it is clear that the party formally acknowledges the Constitution," Hsieh said. "The DPP, therefore, should also accept that `one China' is the basic framework on which the entire Constitution is built," Hsieh said.

Hsieh, however, stressed that the Constitution should be acceptable to people across all political lines. "After all, the Constitution has undergone a number of different interpretations," he said. Hsieh also said that he himself was not completely satisfied with the Constitution as it was ratified in 1946 when the KMT still ruled the mainland, but he saw the need to return to the Constitution to solve disputes such as the current "one China" issue.

His comments, however, sparked a strong backlash from within the party.

"Much of the land of the Republic of China (ROC) has been stolen by the People's Republic of China (PRC)," said DPP lawmaker Chou Po-lun (周伯倫). "And, for the most part, the international community recognizes that `one China' refers to the PRC." Chou was referring to the fact that only 29 countries have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The ROC Constitution regards the mainland as part of its territory.

"The Constitution is not in synch with existing conditions; it was drafted in the 1930s," said Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧), a political scientist at National Taiwan University and a teacher to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Many DPP lawmakers disapproved of the remarks made by both Hsieh and Lee. They said that Hsieh's idea of consulting the Constitution would sidetrack the conventional thinking that Taiwan should come first in any future consideration of the status of the nation.

"The chairman [Hsieh] is trying to find some way to help the president deal with Beijing, but I don't think that unilaterally accepting the ROC Constitution and assuming it is the `one China' we want is the way to go about it," said DPP legislative caucus leader Lee Wen-chung (李文忠).

China has refused to resume cross-strait talks unless Taiwan embraces China's interpretation of "one China" which makes Taiwan a part of the PRC.

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