Former premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday said that China affairs are not the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) priority and that the party should focus on the economy, winning a legislative majority and securing its long-term goal of making Taiwan an independent, sovereign nation.
Yu also said he encouraged cross-strait engagement, but had reservations toward former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) initiative of “constitutional one china” (憲法一中).
Yu made his comments at a press conference where legislation to promote organic agriculture in Taiwan was being outlined.
While increased engagement between the DPP and Beijing, as well as the establishment of a China Affairs Committee would be welcomed, Yu said that reviving Taiwan’s stagnant economy and stopping people’s suffering is more important.
The biggest problem with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, said Yu — who held the premiership for a record three years between 2002 and 2005 when the DPP was in power — is that it is only trying to solve the issues at hand and has lost sight of its mid-term and long-term goals.
Repeatedly asked to comment on Hsieh’s visit to China, Yu declined to offer his views, but said all politicians who visit China should bear in mind that the national interests and the dignity of the 23 million Taiwanese should be the priority over individual gains.
However, Yu said that the DPP’s ultimate goal should be the normalization of the country and reiterated that his long-standing position on the party’s China policy remained in line with the 1999 resolution on Taiwan’s future, which had been intended to make Taiwan an independent state by 2007, a resolution passed when he served as DPP chairman.
That ambition does not conflict with the “Republic of China (ROC) is Taiwan and Taiwan is [the] ROC” initiative of former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) he said.
Yu said he refuted the conventional thinking that the DPP’s China policy was the reason the party lost this year’s presidential election and would also be the deciding factor in the 2016 presidential election and added that “giving up what you believe in and accepting the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) ideology is what will keep the DPP from returning to power.”
“As far as I’m concerned, whether or not the DPP returns to power is secondary to whether Taiwan can become a country in its own right,” he said.
The DPP is on its own in its quest to return to power, he said, as neither the US, Japan or China favor the party’s return to office.
However, Yu said that winning the majority in the legislature — a task that the DPP has never achieved — would be more important than winning the presidency and he said that the legislature holds more power than the administrative branch today.
Yu insisted this seemingly impossible goal is actually achievable.
Winning a further 17 seats three years from now in conjunction with the pan-green camp — which currently holds a combined total 43 seats in the legislature — would allow the political movement to take control of 60 of the 113 legislative seats, he said.