The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should differentiate itself from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) by tabling a set of well-thought-out China policies that have achieved inter-party consensus and pay more attention to other pressing issues related to the country’s economy, global competitiveness and people’s livelihoods, former premier Yu Shyi-kun said on Sunday.
Yu made the remarks during an exclusive interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) amid the party’s efforts to seek closer engagement with China.
“Cross-strait relations are delicate by nature and have a profound impact on regional peace, stability and the development of the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan should not only adopt more flexible strategies, but also foster long-term strategic thinking [in its handling of China],” the former premier said.
With a large number of his party comrades catching the prevalent “China fever,” Yu urged the DPP not to rush its cross-strait policy, saying the party should submit proposals in stages after forging a party consensus.
“Every ‘cross-strait dish’ the party serves should be relieving and comforting from the perspective of the general public, as it will help create an obvious distinction between the DPP and the KMT [in the minds of the electorate],” Yu said.
Dismissing widespread reports that the DPP’s loss in the January presidential election was the result of its much-criticized China policy, Yu said this theory was not only paradoxical, but it also missed the point.
“The cross-strait situation is complex. Although the DPP has been conducting thorough research on the issue for several years, a lot still needs to be done,” Yu said.
Yu said this requires more than just reinstating one or two China affairs departments, allowing more party members to visit China, or holding more cross-strait forums to properly resolve the issue.
Yu urged the DPP to put more weight on major domestic issues, including a significant decrease in living standards, a sharp decline in the country’s global competitiveness rankings, a continued contraction of exports, a surge in the unemployment rate and an increasing gap in wealth distribution.
Shifting to the economy, Yu said the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had its hands tied on domestic economic issues and had broken several of his campaign promises.
“Ma pledged [prior to the presidential election] that GDP growth this year would surpass 4 percent. The figure was cut to 1.66 percent [on Friday],” Yu said.
The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed by Taiwan and China in 2010, which was touted by the administration as a “cure-all” for the country’s economic downturn, has become nothing but another broken promise, Yu said.