Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday shrugged off recent discussions on the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China policy over the establishment of a China Affairs Committee, saying that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have had relations since 1991, when provisions effective during the Period of Mobilization for the Suppression of the Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) ceased.
Since the provisions ended on May 1, 1991, and the government announced the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), Taiwan and China have been considered two political entities and cross-strait relations were under steady development based on that status, he said.
“Taiwan and China have developed cross-strait relations step-by-step since then, and [the DPP] has waited until now to address the issue … I don’t have much to say about its move,” he said yesterday when attending an event at Taipei City Council.
Lee’s comments came after the DPP’s announcement on Wednesday that it had set up the China Affairs Committee to handle cross-strait relations.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who will run the committee, said the party would formulate a new China policy and start anew its relations with Beijing via the committee.
While the establishment of the committee has been seen as an effort of the pro-independence party to take a more aggressive approach on improving cross-strait relations after losing the January presidential election, Su yesterday said the DPP’s views on Taiwan’s status and future remain unchanged.
“We collected opinions from within the party [with the establishment of the committee]. There are to be no concessions or drawing close to any sides,” he said during a visit to Hualien.
Asked whether he would invite former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), whose landmark visit to China last month made him the front-runner to lead the committee, or former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to join the committee, Su said he had contacted top officials in the party to join the committee, and would also extend an invitation to Tsai and discuss the issue with her.
DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said yesterday that Su would soon begin formally inviting party members to join the committee. Su will invite party heavyweights personally to join the committee, Wang said.
On whether non-DPP members will be invited to serve on the committee, Wang said Su was still deciding who to invite, but he added that people outside of the party were not off-limits.
A spokesman for former Presidential Office secretary-general Yu Shyi-kun said he had already received an invitation, but had not yet decided whether to accept.
Additional reporting by CNA