Thu, Sep 15, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Tsai vows to rebuild US relations

STRAIT TALK:Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP’s approach to China would be ‘stable and balanced’ and in line with the ‘mainstream consensus’ and international expectations

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Wshington

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen speaks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has pledged to rebuild confidence and reinforce the strategic partnership between the DPP and the US.

In a wide-ranging speech delivered to the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, presidential candidate Tsai said that DPP members “cherish” Taiwan’s relationship with the US and that it was at the top of her agenda to renew and improve it.

Tsai is on a nine-day tour of the US aimed at least in part at reassuring the administration of US President Barack Obama that if elected the DPP would strive to maintain cross-strait peace and stability.

“We acknowledge that toward the end of the previous DPP administration there were diverging views on strategic priorities and our relationship went through a rough period,” Tsai said.

Tsai was scheduled to meet administration officials in -Washington yesterday, including US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell.

Her highly anticipated speech — delivered to a packed audience that included former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz — contained the same message that she is delivering in private to the US government.

“Anyone who governs Taiwan must have an accurate understanding of the practical realities as well as the wishes of the Taiwanese people and major policy must be formulated through democratic procedures,” she said. “I have raised the concept of a ‘Taiwan consensus,’ which highlights the democratic process of decision-making and emphasizes the fact that policy is only sustainable when it is a realistic response to the consensus and needs of the people.”

“Any political precondition that is not democratically agreed upon is fragile at most and will not withstand the test of time,” she said.

In answer to a question from the audience, she said there were some current political positions that might be too fragile for future negotiations. These positions did not amount to a “solid foundation” upon which China and Taiwan could build a long-term “broad coverage” relationship, she said.

“We have to get together and get a ‘Taiwan consensus,’ before we go to China to discuss and negotiate a basis to build our future relationship,” she said.

Tsai said the DPP’s approach toward China would be “stable and balanced” and in line with the “mainstream consensus” and -international expectations.

“We will refrain from extreme or radical approaches,” she said. “The current stalemate across the Strait is a product of the evolution of history, but the future of relations does not have to be a zero-sum situation and we are willing to take a strategic approach that benefits the people of both sides.”

“We acknowledge that Beijing insists on the ‘one China’ principle as its fundamental position toward Taiwan,” Tsai said.

“However, Beijing must also understand the reality that the Taiwanese people, having gone through the historical processes of freeing themselves from foreign rule and seeking democratization, are opposed to a one-party system and committed to upholding the independence of their sovereignty,” she said.

She said that the DPP had no “fundamental animosity” toward the people of China and that it was willing to play a proactive and constructive role in “the development of a vibrant civil society and market economy in China.”

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