Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) hopes that her “consensus-building character” and her initiatives would make it possible to foster a stable, long-term relationship with China, as well as ending internal division in Taiwan, the party said yesterday at an international press conference.
About 200 members of the international media and an election observation delegation attended the press conference, held two days before tomorrow’s presidential and legislative elections at the DPP’s national campaign headquarters in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市).
The press conference was hosted by Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), the director of international affairs at Tsai’s campaign office.
Tsai, who was campaigning in Taoyuan yesterday morning, did not attend the press conference, saying she plans to host a similar press conference after winning the election.
Despite the election being described as the first presidential poll since 1996 not to focus on cross-strait relations, most questions still involved the topic, with reporters asking about Tsai’s “Taiwan consensus” proposal and her grand coalition idea in particular.
On the so-called “1992 consensus” and Tsai’s “Taiwan consensus,” Hsiao said Tsai believes strongly that an internal consensus has to be built to overcome internal divisions in Taiwan before dealing with China, because it would provide consistency in the long-term.
The DPP maintains that the “1992 consensus” is an invented term and “what happened in 1992 was a spirit to agree to disagree,” Hsiao said, adding that even if the consensus exists, it would not be strong enough to sustain the long-term challenges of cross-strait relations.
While Beijing’s preference for Ma is an open secret, the DPP believes China is ready to hedge against a possible Tsai victory because unstable cross-strait relations would be considered a failure of the outgoing Chinese leadership.
The DPP called on Beijing to “realize how democracy works” and try to collaborate with the party on the common interests of the people on both sides of the strait if it wins the election.
Tsai’s consensus-building character and approach would be essential in her handling domestic and external affairs, and her track record is the best proof, Hsiao said.
With her communication skills, the 56-year-old has been able to lead the DPP away from factional in fighting and its humiliating defeat in the 2008 presidential election when she unfiied the party after assuming the chair in 2008, Hsiao said.
Compared with 2000, when the then-DPP administration appointed a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) premier, Taiwan’s democracy and its people are now more mature and ready for a change and the end of political division, which is why Tsai asserted that a grand coalition is achievable, Hsiao said.
“Taiwanese are fed up with animosity, exclusion and a winner-takes-all political system,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao outlined Tsai’s campaign theme of “Fairness and Justice” and her major policies, which focus on social and economic issues, such as the distribution of benefits and economic growth in a 20-minute briefing, before moving on to a question-and-answer session.
She raised a number of concerns about the elections — the lack of government neutrality, inappropriate use of state funds and Beijing’s sophisticated interventions.