Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday announced the establishment of a China Affairs Committee, ending media speculation about the makeup of the committee by doubling as the committee’s convener.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), whose landmark visit to China last month made him the front-runner to lead the committee, expressed his support.
Su made the announcement, regarded as the DPP’s first step to formulate its new China policy and start anew its relations with Beijing after losing the January presidential election, at a press conference after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
After “extended deliberations,” Su said he gave up the original plan of having Hsieh as committee head and decided to assume responsibility himself because “it is the chairman’s responsibility to integrate different opinions in the party.”
The DPP’s views on Taiwan’s status and future remain unchanged because its party resolution on Taiwan’s future in 1999 has now become mainstream opinion among Taiwanese, Su said.
The comment was regarded as an attempt to reassure supporters that the party would not tilt toward Beijing in its attempts to prove to the public that it is capable of managing cross-strait relations.
However, because Chinese influence has been everywhere in Taiwan, the DPP has to respond with flexible strategies and approaches, and present a China policy that will “serve Taiwan’s interests in the future,” Su said.
Explaining the committee structure in detail, DPP Secretary-General Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) said it would consist of seven to nine members and include an advisory board, with a meeting being held every two months.
The other members of the committee are expected to be finalized in one to three weeks, he said, adding that Hsieh and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had already been invited to join the committee.
Hsieh’s initiative of “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) meant he would not be an ideal candidate to convene the committee, because the former premier’s views on China policy are clear and would not help him as convener of the committee’s discussions, Lin said.
While the name of the committee has been a hot topic in the media, Lin said it was never an issue in the meeting as the party stuck with “China” rather than “cross-strait” or “mainland” as some had suggested.
Lin also played down the significance of the committee being headed by a convener rather than a chairman, saying that it was a “non-issue” in the meeting.
Before the meeting, representatives of various pro-independence groups, including the Taiwan Society, the Taiwan Hakka Society, the Northern Taiwan Society, the Taiwan Nation Alliance and the Taiwan Association of University Professors, met with Su and voiced their concerns.
Taiwan Society president Wu Shu-min (吳樹民) told reporters after the meeting that the groups argued that the establishment of a committee on China policy was not a priority for the DPP at present.
Instead, Wu said, the DPP should focus on domestic economic issues, and promote social justice and fairness, such as seeking a solution to the financial crises of various pension programs.
Former premier Yu Shyi-kun shared those views, saying that the DPP would be able to promote closer engagement with China without setting up a committee.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient