Sun, May 11, 2008 - Page 1 News List

DPP contenders debate on party direction, policy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chai said he wasn’t concerned about the KMT majority in the legislature.

“We don’t have many legislators — only 27, but it’s much more than the number of people we had in the legislature 20 years ago,” he said. “So these 27 comrades should work hard to keep tabs on the KMT.”

He said the DPP should focus more on defending Taiwan’s sovereignty and work with all anti-KMT groups and individuals.

“I’m very experienced in the struggle against the KMT,” he said. “Before we won [in 2000], I used to collaborate with many groups to organize demonstrations against the KMT government — one time, we had more than 200,000 participants and I was the chief convener of the demonstration.”

“What’s more important is that we should insist on safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence — it’s the DPP’s core value, it’s the DPP’s soul. The party will collapse if we don’t persevere,” Chai said.

Koo agreed.

“I have some figures here that show 89.3 percent of the people think that Taiwan and China are separate countries, and that 81 percent of the people are against unification [with China],” Koo told the audience. “Although the KMT — with unification as its ultimate goal — now has the power, its political ideology is different from what most people believe in, and therefore I don’t think they will be in power for long.”

Koo went on to say that the DPP had lost power not because of its stance on Taiwan’s sovereignty, but rather because DPP politicians had failed to stick to this ideology.

Tsai also said she believed the nation’s sovereignty could not be sacrificed in exchange for closer cross-strait ties.

“During my term as chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council, I never made any concessions on Taiwan’s sovereignty, and yet, direct ferry lines [between Kinmen, Matsu and China], and direct cross-strait holiday charter flights were successfully launched during my term,” she said.

She also stressed that any changes to the nation’s status quo must be decided by a referendum.

“That’s the bottom line, and we cannot back down,” she said.

However, instead of focusing solely on defending Taiwan’s sovereignty, she said the DPP should also be more open to broadening its support.

“Taiwan is a migrant society, different groups of people moved to this island at different times, and they have different ideas and emotional ties to China,” Tsai said. “We should therefore find a common ground that is acceptable to everyone.”

“We put ourselves in other people’s shoes and explain our ideas to them in their language,” she said.

The three were also asked about the country’s economic performance under the DPP government.

All three said that the economy under the DPP was not as bad as the media had portrayed.

“I don’t only think that the economy isn’t bad, I actually think it’s quite good,” Koo said. “But there are pro-blue media outlets that keep reporting otherwise — it’s quite irresponsible.”

Koo and Tsai also emphasized the need for better government communication with the public to present a clearer image of what the administration had achieved.

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