Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for a “Taiwan consensus” and the establishment of a mechanism for the nation’s policy on China and peaceful exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
In a press conference to publicize her cross-strait policies, the DPP presidential candidate denied the existence of the so-called “1992 consensus” and said that if she were elected president, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China last year would be reviewed by the legislature and adjusted if necessary.
Tsai said “consensus” and “democratic mechanism” were the crucial elements in Taiwan’s engagement with China, adding that it was a lack of transparency under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is running for re-election in January, that had steered Taiwan in the “wrong” direction.
Photo: Taipei Times
That was why she has proposed a “Taiwan consensus,” which would be achieved by a democratic, non-partisan mechanism so that Taiwan’s China policies would be consistent and unaffected by regime change.
To build the consensus, the nation can start with “maintaining the ‘status quo,’” which is the most popular approach, despite the different interpretations of the “status quo,” she said.
With a consensus, Taiwan would be able to engage in future dialogue with China, she said.
“Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the mechanism should be established,” she said.
The term “1992 consensus” did not exist until 2000, she said, adding that even the person who coined it admitted it was an “invention.”
Former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) said in 2006 that he had invented the term before the KMT handed over power to the DPP in 2000. China has said the consensus would be the foundation of cross-strait ties.
A responsible leader and political party with vision should be able to “sit down and discuss [the 1992 consensus] with related parties, rather than carry out his own will and drag the entire country along with him,” Tsai said.
The cross-strait situation now is far different from that of 1992, with more exchanges and more complex political dynamics, she said.
“Cross-strait relations should be dealt with in a brand new framework,” the DPP leader said, urging both sides of the Strait to abandon conventional thinking.
Tsai said the DPP would handle the ECFA according to international regulations and democratic mechanisms, but she did not rule out putting the agreement to a referendum “if people think it is necessary.”
In the presentation, which contained few surprises, Tsai and her team explained their policies on national security and cross-strait economy and trade, both of which are part of the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines released on Monday.
Her national security policy as president would be based on universal values, balanced external relations, mutually beneficial strategic thinking, democratic consensus and a defensive-oriented mechanism to safeguard security, Tsai said.
On the economy and foreign policy, Taiwan would treat China the same way it treats the US, Japan or the EU, she said. This meant Taiwan would be “walking toward China through the international community,” she said.
On cross-strait trade relations, Tsai said the nation should seek opportunities to sign free-trade agreements with the US, Japan, India, the EU and ASEAN, adding that Taiwan was likely to engage in regional economic integration by joining the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through APEC.
Taiwan should maintain its economic independence at all times and make sure it is capable of monitoring Taiwanese investment in China, she said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said in a press release yesterday that his party — an ally of the DPP — opposes continued implementation of the ECFA, which he said was “a chain that will eventually constrain Taiwan’s economy.”
“The TSU stands by its firm position that the ECFA should be terminated,” Huang said.
Tsai’s plan to place the ECFA under an international framework was acceptable and praiseworthy, said Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信), who is on the TSU’s legislator-at-large list, but any agreement that has not been screened and authorized by the legislature should not be implemented in a democratic country such as Taiwan.
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth