A legislative committee yesterday ground to a halt after lawmakers from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) clashed over a motion concerning Taiwan’s sovereignty.
KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) called an end to the afternoon session of a joint meeting of the Internal Administration Committee, Economics Committee and Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee after he was incensed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) asking KMT legislators to explain why they were against DPP legislators’ motion.
“Why does the KMT caucus need to explain to you anyway?” Kung said, pounding on the table.
The two engaged in a shouting match before Kung left the chamber. Chiu then called him a “gutless runaway hoodlum” and tore up the proposed motion.
The DPP’s motion stated that Taiwan is an independent sovereign political entity different from the People’s Republic of China. It also said that Taiwan has every right to become a full member of the WHO and obtain information on the prevention of contagious diseases and other health issues directly from the WHO rather than through a third party. Nor should the agreement on medical and health cooperation signed with China last week affect Taiwan’s right to become a full WHO member, it said.
With the number of members present insufficient to qualify as a quorum and call a vote, Kung ruled that the matter would be dealt with at a later date.
Visibly upset, Chiu said she did not understand why KMT legislators were against the proposal if Taiwan indeed has direct access to WHO information as government officials claimed.
Due to the abrupt adjournment of the meeting, the other two motions proposed by the DPP legislators were not discussed. A motion proposed by Kung, however, was approved with minor adjustments to the wording.
At the same setting, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) irked KMT Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) by declining to answer his questions.
Chiang asked Lai to specify whether the Chinese government is friendly to Taiwanese. He also asked her about the preference for Taiwan’s future: unifying with China, declaring independence, maintaining the “status quo” before making a decision or maintaining the “status quo” indefinitely.
Lai also declined to say whether she considered herself a Taiwanese or a Chinese or both.
She also engaged in a heated debate with DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) over the so-called “1992 consensus.” Lai said Taipei and Beijing agreed in 1992 that there is only “one China” and that each side has an individual interpretation of what “one China” means. For the KMT administration, “one China” refers to the Republic of China (ROC), which is an independent sovereign nation according to the ROC Constitution, she said.
Lai, however, avoided Chen’s question about China’s interpretation of “one China,” saying only “it refers to whatever country they want to call themselves.” Since both sides can sit down and talk, both sides “do not deny each other’s existence” and thus the ROC has further consolidated its sovereignty, she said.