If the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regained power in next year’s presidential election, China would be given much less “weight” than it is given by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a Washington audience.
However, this did not mean that Beijing would not get “significant” consideration he said, adding that the party would strive for good cross-strait relations.
“We would not be looking to China as a solution for all our problems, the way the KMT has been doing,” he said.
Wu said the WHO general assembly would meet next year at about the same time as the inauguration of the next Taiwanese president.
If the DPP wins, “we worry that China might all of a sudden not invite Taiwan to be an observer [at the World Health Assembly] anymore,” he said.
“That might happen. China might use the WHO to humiliate Taiwan’s new government. That would give cross-strait relations a very bad start,” he added.
Speaking at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies on Tuesday, Wu said it would be impossible for the DPP to accept any political preconditions in negotiations with Beijing.
In the DPP debate on cross-strait relations with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) leading up to the presidential election, there would be “lots of similarities” in the positions taken by the DPP and the KMT, Wu said.
He said that Ma was making some “serious adjustments” to his political position on cross-strait relations and that to improve his chances of winning, he would campaign on a modified program that could be quite close to the DPP’s policies.
“There will be debate, but it will not be one between two camps with dramatically different views,” he said.
It has been speculated that if the DPP were to win the election, Wu, who served in the DPP administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from 2000 until 2008, would be given a top job. A research professor at National Chengchi University, he now serves as an adviser to the DPP on international affairs.
Wu said polls showed that Ma could be in “very serious trouble” and that the DPP had a very good chance of regaining power.
The DPP has done a great deal of “soul searching” and would not repeat past mistakes, Wu said.
“We want to strengthen the strategy of aligning with the United States and Japan. We see Taiwan as a sovereign state and this position will not change,” he said.
Wu said that while none of the agreements signed by the KMT with China would be scrapped, they would be reviewed and, in cases where Taiwan was not getting a good deal, the agreements would be renegotiated.
Supporting Wu’s contention that the presidential election would be very close, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday that polls put Ma and DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) “in a dead heat.”
It added that this had set the stage for eight months of “scandals, accusations and [hopefully] constructive policy debate.”
“While it would be folly to project a winner at this point in the race, security analysts say one likely outcome of the election, regardless of who wins, is a cool down in China-Taiwan ties,” the Journal said.
“Tsai has called for trade links with China to be developed in balance with its links to the rest of the world,” the paper said.