A spokesperson for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday downplayed remarks by a former DPP government official who suggested that a DPP administration would introduce major changes in relations with Beijing.
Former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a conference in the US on Tuesday that the so-called “1992 consensus,” which the DPP has rejected, could be dropped as part of cross-strait exchanges.
Future dialogue with China could also be replaced with the “Macau Model” used by the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to initiate talks on cross-strait chartered flights in 2005, Wu said.
A future DPP administration, he said, would not “close the door on direct dealings between -[Chinese] government officials and our government officials,” referring to the model that saw officials talk to each other on a non-official basis.
However, a spokesperson for the party said Wu’s remarks were an expression of his own opinion and did not necessarily reflect the official position of the DPP.
Those remarks “represented [Wu’s] own personal opinion, and the DPP was not informed beforehand,” party spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said.
Wu, who served under Chen as Taiwan’s envoy to Washington, also said he did not speak for the party.
The unusual rebuke from the DPP for Wu, long associated with the DPP and its China policies, comes as newly confirmed DPP presidential candidate and party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) seeks to develop her own cross-strait policies for the upcoming election.
Tsai, also a former MAC chairperson, has promised a more “consistent and moderate” policy, but has so not offered any specifics on how future relations would be handled or how discussions would be held.
Sources connected to the party said the denial of Wu’s remarks was intended to provide Tsai with more room to formulate her own policies on the topic, seen as a major election issue on which she will face tough questions.
“Tsai has said over and over again that Taiwan would seek a peaceful and stable relationship with China, as long as such a relationship was transparent and did not come with political preconditions,” Lin said.
The DPP would also pragmatically deal with the “necessary” cross-strait discussions, he said.