Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday closed a forum on cross-strait relations in Hong Kong by saying that mutual trust was important between the DPP and Beijing and that all bilateral exchanges should benefit the public and address their needs.
In his closing remarks to the two-day forum titled “Development and innovation of cross-strait relations,” Hsieh reiterated the importance of rebalancing cross-strait interactions, which have been narrowed down to interactions between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Citing the recently signed cross-strait service trade pact that has drawn heavy criticism in Taiwan, Hsieh said it was a perfect example of how imbalanced interaction could harm bilateral engagement.
While Beijing said it had given Taiwan WTO-plus treatment in the pact, opposition to the agreement and public fear over the “Chinese economic invasion” remained strong because the communication channel has been limited to the KMT and the CCP and Taiwan’s government had failed to make the negotiation process transparent, Hsieh said.
However, Hsieh, who represents the DPP’s moderate wing, which has been attempting to foster closer engagement across the Taiwan Strait, said that it is also imperative for the DPP and the CCP to keep an “appropriate” distance because of the lack of mutual trust at present.
He also highlighted his “two sides, two Constitutions” initiative, saying that Taiwan and China could coexist if both respected each other’s constitutional legitimacy.
Hsieh echoed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) idea of an “Asian community of destiny.”
“We may not share the same history, but we could have a common destiny and future,” he said.
Academics from both sides of the Strait, as well as nine DPP lawmakers, attended the two-day forum, which was organized by Hsieh’s Taiwan Reform Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies — the first time a DPP-affiliated organization has organized an event in cooperation with a state-sponsored Chinese think tank.
Hsieh is set to visit Taiwanese businesspeople in Shenzhen, China, today before returning to Taiwan tomorrow.
Commenting on the forum, DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said the seminar attracted individuals from the Chinese government and academia and the seniority of the Chinese officials attending the event showed that Beijing attached great importance to it.
Although there were heated discussions between Chinese and Taiwanese delegates, the event provided a chance for the DPP and Beijing to better understand each other, Chao said.
Additional reporting by CNA