Sat, Jan 22, 2011 - Page 3 News List

ANALYSIS: DPP heavyweights weigh in on new China policy

HEAD START:Some candidates for the party’s presidential nomination have sought greater media exposure, concerned selection by opinion poll could place them at a disadvantage

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) said on Thursday last week that negotiations between Taipei and Beijing are possible on the basis of two political preconditions: opposition to Taiwanese independence and recognition of the “1992 consensus.”

He said it was not simply a matter of carrying on the policies of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) claimed the DPP would do if it returned to power, especially if the DPP continues to reject the so-called “1992 consensus.”

While the DPP denies the existence of the “1992 consensus,” (which a former KMT official said was coined in 2000) the KMT has insisted that Taipei and Beijing came to an agreement in 1992 that there is only “one China” with each side retaining its own interpretation as to what “one China” means.

Chen’s remark came in the wake of the DPP’s decision to start exchanges with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the think tank level.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had previously asked: How does the DPP intend to make cross-strait ties possible should it return to power?

The DPP has yet to come up with an acceptable answer, as it is still working on its “10-year policy plan.”

However, some DPP heavyweights seemingly can’t wait to push their own pet theories. Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) has been promoting what she calls the “1996 consensus,” in which she says that Taiwan became an independent sovereign state on March 23, 1996, when the Taiwanese popularly elected their first president.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) recently proposed what he called an “overlapping consensus” on the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution. As part of this approach, he urged all political parties to embrace the ROC Constitution as common political ground.

If such an agreement were reached, Taiwan would be able to replace the “one China with individual interpretations” with what Hsieh called the “constitution with respective definitions,” whereby each side offers its own interpretation of the Constitution.

Hsieh also urged independence supporters to unite with those supporting the “status quo,” thereby forming a unsurmountable majority in opposition to their pro--unification counterparts.

However, Hsieh’s theory was roundly condemned by many of his own colleagues who claimed that it undermined Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Beijing is of course not happy with such semantics and urged the DPP to accept “1992 consensus,” which it said formed a basis for cross-strait talks.

Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), a research fellow at Taiwan Brain Trust, said the DPP must refrain from falling into the “political trap” set by Ma and Chen, who aim to create divisions within the party and press DPP presidential aspirants to accept the “1992 consensus.”

Liu said it was clear that Lu and Hsieh had chosen now to put forward their China policies so as to get a head start, before other potential candidates for the 2012 presidential election throw their hats into the ring, or at the very least, to gain media exposure for their ideas.

Both Lu and Hsieh favor party members voting in the party primaries because they are currently less popular than Tsai and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and positive media coverage could boost their prospects.

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