Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday announced a revised approach to the party’s China policies that will highlight differences between the two countries even as the party pursues peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Future DPP cross-strait policy would be based foremost on the recognition of Taiwan and the country’s “core values,” Tsai said.
“Both sides must maintain a ‘peaceful but different’ relationship and one that is ‘peaceful and seeks commonality,’” Tsai said. “‘Peaceful’ refers to peaceful development for Taiwan and China.”
In remarks that are certain to rankle Beijing, Tsai said the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were different from one another, “historically, politically, in beliefs and within society.”
Taiwan and China’s recognition of each of these aspects is “altogether different,” she said.
“However, we also have common responsibilities and interests and that is to pursue a peaceful and stable relationship and take advantage of opportunities for development,” Tsai said, explaining the concepts buttressing the party’s new strategy.
Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), both former premiers, as well as former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), all of whom are rumored to harbor presidential aspirations, have separately issued new stances on how the DPP should orient its ties with Beijing if it were to regain power next year.
Tsai’s remarks have received the backing of DPP lawmakers, with several saying they -represented an “honest look” at the relationship with China and future development in the Taiwan Strait, long seen as a weak area for the party.
“If the DPP hopes to regain the [presidency] in 2012, it must tackle the key topic of cross-strait relations,” DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said. “We support [Tsai’s comments]. It shows we are confident.”
However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers said there was “nothing new” about Tsai’s ideas, with KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) saying she needed to answer to international pressure over Taiwan to “not unify, not declare independence and not use force.”
It remains unclear how Tsai’s approach will be received by Beijing, which yesterday insisted that Taiwan retain the so-called “1992 consensus” as a basis for cross-strait talks and espoused by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
The DPP disputes the validity of the supposed agreement, which calls for “one China, but separate interpretations.”
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