Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday told foreign media that the party would create a think tank to help create “a peaceful and stable framework for interacting with China” and the rest of the world.
“We will establish a think tank research center in the party to strengthen our analytical and policy capacity to deal with cross-strait developments,” Tsai said. “Ultimately, we recognize the need for a peaceful and stable framework for interacting with China.”
The announcement suggests Tsai believes a moderate China policy is necessary to win the allegiance of centrist voters in 2012, who continue to prefer the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait to de jure independence — at least as long as this threatens to spark war with its giant neighbor — or unification with China.
Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), director of the party’s Department of International Affairs, will head the think tank.
China’s future political, security and economic development will all pose tremendous challenges for Taiwan, Hsiao said. As such, the DPP will push for dialogue with China to encourage mutual understanding to avoid tensions.
It is understood that this dialogue does not mean political negotiations and will not be limited to Chinese officials. The party said it would explore the possibility of holding talks with Chinese academics.
“We’re getting ready to actively deal with China,” Hsiao told the press conference.
The three core functions of the think tank will be external policy coordination (including but not limited to China), increasing the party’s analytical capacity and conducting communications with China to encourage “mutual understanding.”
Hsiao said two-thirds of the money Tsai will receive from the central government in the wake of the special municipality elections, about NT$30 per vote, would go toward the think tank. As Tsai garnered 1,004,900 votes on Saturday, this means about NT$20 million (US$656,000) will be injected into the new think tank, with the remainder going to DPP Central Committee in accordance with regulations.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AP