Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Frank Hsieh explains his ‘constitutional consensus’ proposal

Former premier Frank Hsieh caused a stir with his proposal to use a ‘constitutional consensus’ as the new basis for cross-strait dialogue. In an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporters Huang Tai-lin and Vincent Y. Chao on Tuesday, Hsieh went into greater detail on his idea. This is the second part of the interview

Huang Tai-lin and Vincent Y. Chao

Taipei Times: As a member of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Central Standing Committee, how has your proposal been received by members of your party?

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷): Although I have not officially raised my ideas within the party, I think those are the issues the DPP should consider as it works towards creating its “10 year political platform.” I did not specifically design those policies for the DPP, but for Taiwan as a whole and as a way to protect Taiwan in its entirety.

Some critics say they cannot accept this, that they want full independence for Taiwan. However, how long will this take? We need three-fourths approval from the legislature to make any drastic changes [to the Constitution]. Will this be possible for the [DPP] in four years? In five?

In the meantime, what can we do during this period? Taiwan needs to first unite, instead of being more fragmented. If we continue to see a growing blue-green divide, what we are going to see in future is a growing role for Beijing, or even domination by it.

What Taiwan needs right now is to see all Taiwanese united. We need to talk [as one] with Beijing. We have to ask ourselves why we have allowed the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] to serve as Taiwan’s voice with Beijing. It’s because we are so fragmented internally.

TT: When people compare the DPP’s Normal Country Resolution [passed in 2007] with your ideas, they see discrepancy between the two. As the resolution clearly terms the current constitutional system as abnormal, isn’t your proposal — bringing up again the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution — a contradiction [to the resolution]?

Hsieh: I don’t think they contradict one another. All the parts that aren’t “normal,” as labeled by the resolution, are the parts that are not overlapping as part of the consensus. But we can’t just question the validity of the entire Constitution, just because of parts that we don’t find “normal.”

Take the DPP for example. I, in fact, find it is absolutely not normal that no DPP politician can look me in the face and tell me whether they recognize our Constitution. What we should be doing is accepting the Constitution and working to revise the parts that we don’t agree with.

The Constitution is by definition a formation of its articles. Look at Japan or countries in Europe; many people don’t agree with some articles in their Constitutions, that’s why they work to revise them. This is how it works.

On the flip side of this argument, are we ready to say that Taiwan doesn’t have a Constitution? If this is the case, DPP politicians would be scamming the people when they go to take the oath for president or for lawmaker. This isn’t the case.

We should be accepting this Constitution. The ROC is Taiwan and Taiwan is the ROC. We are equals. Sure, this Constitution has remnants left over from the past that at present we have no way to fix, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work hard to fix them in future.

As to whether we can make these changes; I recommend the DPP first take a step back and try the Constitution out as it is. See if China can accept us using this as the basis. See if they can accept us as the ROC.

If it’s simply not acceptable, at least everybody will see this quite clearly. However, right now, if we don’t even try it out, the DPP will not have enough consensuses to go and change this anyway.

This story has been viewed 5242 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top