Sat, Mar 25, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP forced to cancel policy talks

WASTE OF TIME?The party's vaunted cross-strait policy debates were candceled after most of the participants withdrew, saying they were pointless

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday announced that the debates on China policy which the party was planning to hold next weekend would be canceled.

The announcement was unexpected as the party has publicized the debates for the past few weeks as a means of hammering out a cross-strait policy as a point of reference for the Executive Yuan.

"Since many of the participants scheduled to take place in the debate have withdrawn, we hereby reluctantly announce that it will be canceled," Yu said yesterday at a news conference held at the DPP headquarters.

"We tried to communicate and negotiate with the participants but we did not reach a satisfactory conclusion. Therefore, it would make no sense to waste further time deliberating over whether or not to hold the debate. We just have to cancel it," he said.

On Wednesday, the Executive Yuan announced a plan to adopt a more rigorous interpretation of the "active management, effective opening" economic policy.

Many DPP members who learned of this new approach, including legislators Julian Kuo (郭正亮), Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) and Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲), decided to withdraw, saying it would be meaningless to take part given that the administration had already finalized its policies.

When asked if he felt the Executive Yuan did not respect the party's attempts to formulate a cross-strait policy, Yu said only that the DPP "had no idea about the Cabinet's decision."

"This situation also reminds us that the relationship between the party and the government needs to be reexamined," Yu said. "But I will not give up on promoting a system for governing this relationship and will continue to work on it," he said.

The Presidential Office said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) respected Yu's decision.

It was Chen who, during Yu's inauguration in January, asked the chairman to hold the debate on cross-strait policy.

Lee, a member of the party's New Tide faction, said it was a good thing that the debate had been canceled because the government had already determined its policies.

"Under the circumstances, groups supporting economic opening and groups supporting economic tightening would only confront each other. But I think there are only differences of nuance between the two," Lee said.

However, DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) of the Justice Alliance faction criticized the cancelation, saying it was a blow to the party's morale. He said the whole event had deteriorated into a farce because of the lack of communication between the government and the party.

Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) yesterday said the council gave both the DPP headquarters and the DPP caucus prior notice of the council's intention to hold a joint press conference with other ministries on Wednesday detailing the implementation of the "active management, effective opening" policy.

Liu admitted that there might have been insufficient communication with party officials before the Cabinet released the policy details, but he insisted that the timing of the announcement was not mean to thwart the DPP's plan to hold a debate on the issue.

"It takes some time for governmental departments to collate their respective policies," he said.

Additional reporting by Chang Yun-ping

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