A group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday said they would initiate a proposal calling for a China policy debate to build a party consensus on the direction of future cross-strait engagement at the party’s congress tomorrow.
“China policy will inevitably be a major issue the DPP has to face and a challenge the party has to tackle,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference.
DPP legislators Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Pasuya Yao (姚文智) also attended the press conference and urged the party’s newly formed China Affairs Committee, the DPP’s designated cross-strait policymaking platform, to organize the debate.
The general idea of the proposal is to demand that the party become more inclusive and to listen to various opinions before formulating its cross-strait policies, the lawmakers said, as currently there are only nine members on the committee.
If the debate materializes, it would be the DPP’s first official debate on China policy since 1998, when DPP members last exchanged opinions on cross-strait relations.
The milestone debate went on to become a catalyst for the party’s resolution on Taiwan’s future a year later, which recognized the Republic of China (ROC) as the nation’s current name and said that any change to the “status quo” would have to be determined by Taiwanese in a referendum.
“The resolution in 1999 resolved the complex relationship between the ROC and Taiwan. Relations between Taiwan and China await further discussion,” Gao said.
While such a debate is imperative for the DPP, Hsiao said it would be more difficult to find a proposition and an opposition than in 1998 because party members’ positions on China are much more diverse.
However, Hsiao hopes that the DPP will be able to come up with substantial measures based on the spirit of the 1999 resolution to deal with Taiwan’s plight and the global situation it faces.
A number of topics could be discussed, Pasuya Yao said, such as the marketability of Taiwan independence and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) initiative of “one China with different interpretations,” as well as which initiative would be the best guideline for cross-strait engagement — the KMT’s so-called “1992 consensus,” the “constitutions with different interpretations” initiative proposed by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) or another initiative.
Lee Chun-yi said that while he did not think the DPP’s policy on China lost the party the presidential election last year, the party must regroup and find a way to counter the ever-increasing influence of China and the pro-China administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Responding to the proposal, China Affairs Committee spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said that the committee is to invite DPP mayors and commissioners, legislators, a representatives of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople and civic groups, to its next meeting.
“If the enlargement of the number of participants is not enough, I think party headquarters should consider the possibility of holding a debate,” Cheng said.