Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that his China policy is “completely based on the DPP’s resolution on Taiwan’s future in 1999” and that the most urgent task is to move the nation’s development forward rather than working on independence.
Su made the comments in an interview with the Chinese-language United Evening News published yesterday afternoon. He also talked to reporters about the issues raised in the interview yesterday evening.
“Taiwan is a sovereign country, otherwise I would not have served as premier and Taiwanese would not have been able to vote for their president ... Taiwan is already independent. All we have to do is move forward,” Su said.
The DPP’s landmark resolution in 1999 defines Taiwan as a sovereign country separate from China, while acknowledging the Republic of China as the country’s current formal title.
Su said he would “leave the issue of Taiwan’s de jure independence to academic discussions” and that the more urgent issue would be safeguarding Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.
However, he reiterated that the DPP, which many believe lost the presidential election last year due to the lack of a clear and feasible cross-strait policy, intends to actively engage China, which is why the party established a China Affairs Committee and is planning to organize nine meetings on cross-strait affairs next month.
“The DPP believes that China will be democratized in the future and both sides of the Taiwan Strait will be able to pursue peace and prosperity together,” he was quoted as saying.
Playing down competition between himself and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Su said that winning the DPP nomination for the presidential election in 2016 is the furthest thing from his mind.
Su said the biggest challenges in the remainder of his two-year term would be the seven-in-one elections next year and the national referendum on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), later this year, adding that both are “must-win battles” for the party.
Su said he has had to endure a lot of criticism and suspicion on a wide range of issues since assuming the helm of the party last year, but that he has persevered.
One of those issues is the party’s position on imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has applied to rejoin the DPP.
Su reiterated that the DPP supports medical parole for Chen from a humanitarian perspective and has agreed to handle Chen’s membership application by following standard procedures.
People have various opinions and views on the former president, but everyone’s opinion should be respected, Su was quoted as saying.