Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who is on a landmark visit to China, said yesterday that sincerity and goodwill are key to overcoming differences between Taipei and Beijing.
“The two sides have to face each other, respect each other and deal with the differences between them in future. And although they need more time, they can overcome the differences as long as there is sincerity and goodwill,” Hsieh said after visiting the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.
Echoing Hsieh, Yu Keli (余克禮), director of the institute, acknowledged that time is needed to resolve differences between the two sides.
The Chinese academic said he welcomed more DPP members to pay private visits to China, which he thinks can enhance mutual understanding and help build consensus.
Hsieh, a former premier in the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration from 2000 to 2008, is on a five-day visit to China. He is the most senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) official ever to visit China.
While the stated main purpose of the visit is to attend the International Bartenders Association World Cocktail Championship in Beijing today, Hsieh has also used the opportunity to pay his respects to his ancestors in southeastern China’s Fujian Province, as well as to meet with Chinese academics and Fujian’s local government officials.
The visit, which began with Hsieh’s arrival in Xiamen on Oct. 4, is being widely watched as many see it potentially opening a path for Taiwan’s main opposition party to establish contact and dialogue with China.
The two sides have been at odds over the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty. The DPP has traditionally supported Taiwan’s independence and separate identity from China. It has also rejected the “one China” principle and the “1992 consensus” as bases for developing relations with China.
The consensus, accepted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), refers to “one China with each side of the Taiwan Strait having its own interpretation.”
Hsieh said on Friday during a tour of Xiamen University that Taiwan and China needed to address their differences before economic relations can advance to a higher level.
Merely “agreeing to disagree” is insufficient to cope with the current challenges in cross-strait economic exchanges, said the politician who has been considered more flexible toward China affairs than other members of the DPP.
Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), an executive member of the DPP in charge of policy affairs who is on a visit to Washington, said on Friday that Hsieh’s itinerary in China did not include any political meetings — meaning meetings with Chinese officials to discuss cross-strait politics.
“Everything is happening as a matter of course,” Wu said.
Wu said that although Beijing has constantly urged the DPP to give up its pro-independence ideas and accept the “one China” principle, or at least to accept the “1992 consensus,” the DPP has never accepted the “political conditions.”
However, neither has the DPP rejected interaction with China, Wu said.
He reminded China not to forget the DPP’s existence when interacting with Taiwan.