Tue, Jan 25, 2011 - Page 3 News List

DPP cross-strait think tank to open after Lunar break

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A think tank charged with helping the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) develop cross-strait policies will likely be up and running after the Lunar New Year holiday next month, party officials said yesterday.

The office, which will be located in the same building as the DPP’s headquarters in Taipei, is nearing completion, the officials said, adding that when it is completed, the yet-to-be-named think tank will have “dozens” of staff and academics.

With the establishment of the think tank, the party hopes to draw up a set of cross-strait policies that are less confrontational and more acceptable to the public, especially as it heads into the presidential election next year, the officials said.

Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), head of the party’s Department of International Affairs, will be responsible for its day-to-day operations.

Announcing the creation of the think tank in November, Hsiao said the DPP would seek to push for dialogue with Beijing, albeit one that is non-political in nature.

Other functions of the think tank would include analyzing foreign policy and providing insight into Taiwan’s economic and social conditions.

Party insiders said the creation of the think tank was directly related to a cross-strait policy of non-confrontation and consistency championed by DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), in contrast to the “more rocky” relationship under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The think tank will occupy about 790m2 of floor space on the eighth floor of the building. The DPP already occupies the ninth and tenth floors.

Initial funding for the project will come from the balance from Tsai’s campaign chest when she ran for New Taipei City mayor last year.

Tsai has set aside two-thirds of the NT$30 million (US$1.02 million) she received in voter subsidies for the establishment of the think tank.

Meanwhile, in a sign of resurging finances, party insiders said the DPP was expected to give party workers one month’s pay as their year-end bonus, the highest since losing the presidency to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2008.

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