The four Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential aspirants continued their pre-primary wrangling yesterday, this time with a spat over the relationship between the Constitution and the "one China" framework.
In an interview with the Chinese-language daily China Times published yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (
Su said that there was no "one China" relationship between Taiwan and China, adding that no one should confuse "[Taiwan and China as] the same country."
He said that bringing up such issues only confused people about Taiwan's national identity.
The premier said that people wouldn't be "speaking out" against Hsieh if his remarks didn't carry influence, making them worry about the issue.
Hsieh quickly responded to the premier's remarks.
"When I said there is a `one China' framework in the Constitution, I didn't mean that was my platform. Instead, what I want is to make reforms," Hsieh said at a press conference in the legislature yesterday.
Asserting that he was the first premier to stress the need to change the Constitution, Hsieh said "How could it be possible that I stand for a constitution based on a one-China principle?"
Hsieh said his comments were being misrepresented because of the approaching presidential primary, saying he had only meant to describe the Constitution.
Vice President Annette Lu (
"I don't know whether Hsieh has made himself clear on this, but I don't get it," Lu said when asked to comment on the spat.
Meanwhile, another would-be presidential contender joined the fray by dredging up remarks made by Hsieh more than six years ago, when he said that unification with China should not be a ruled out as an option for Taiwan.
"Hsieh's argument that the Constitution endorses the `one China' policy and that unification with China is an option deviates from the party's basic values," DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said when approached by reporters about the kerfuffle.
Yu was referring to the DPP's official platform, which states that Taiwan and China are two different countries and that the party will pursue formal independence from China.
On Sept. 6, 2000, when Hsieh was serving as DPP chairman, he said in a radio interview that the party did not exclude unification with China as a future option.
Hsieh said that the DPP's 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" (
"After the resolution was made, the DPP recognized that Taiwan is an already independent country whose name is `Republic of China.' The party's goal is to maintain the status-quo. The party takes a cautious approach in determining whether Taiwan will unify with China, but that is not excluded as an option," Hsieh said at the time.
Still, Yu took great pains to say he felt sorry for what he called the "infighting between Hsieh and Su," saying the DPP's primary mechanism was a model of democracy for ethnic Chinese communities.
The DPP primary consists of an "opinion poll" that counts toward 70 percent of a decision as to who will be nominated as the party's candidate.