Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) briefed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday on comments he reportedly made during a trip to Hong Kong, saying that he did not invent the phrase “same origin and culture” when referring to Taiwan and China, but that it appeared in a 1999 DPP resolution on Taiwan’s future.
Hsieh visited Hong Kong for a cross-strait forum on Saturday and Sunday, and his comments have sparked controversy just before the party is set to begin the first of a series of meetings on its much-anticipated China policy today.
Hsieh reportedly said at the forum that if the new cross-strait service trade pact was as good as advertised, Taiwanese “should have celebrated with firecrackers,” and that Taiwan and China “share the same origin and the same culture.”
His alleged remarks have drawn heavy criticism from several DPP members, Taiwan independence supporters in particular.
The former premier had already repeatedly said that he was misquoted by the media on the “firecrackers” comment.
He yesterday offered his explanation of the “same origin and culture” comment at the weekly Central Standing Committee meeting to reassure his party colleagues.
“The words ‘the same origin’ and ‘the same culture’ came from the DPP resolution in 1999 on Taiwan’s future. I did not pull these phrases out of thin air,” Hsieh said.
The last paragraph of the resolution, which defines Taiwan as a sovereign country separate from China and acknowledges “Republic of China (ROC)” as the country’s formal title, said that both sides of the Taiwan Strait “shared the same origin culturally” and had a “lasting relationship culturally, historically and in blood.”
With much public attention focused on Hsieh’s efforts to “create a new path and more options” for the DPP’s cross-strait policy, the party’s China Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold the first of nine expanded meetings on China affairs today at the DPP headquarters.
The inaugural meeting, which was to be held on June 20, was pushed back because of proceedings at the Legislative Yuan.
Dozens of DPP heavyweights, legislators, academics and senior advisers are expected to attend the meeting, titled “Core values and visions of Taiwan’s China policy.”
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is to deliver the keynote speech before four introductory reports by National Sun Yat-sen University assistant professor Tsai Hung-cheng (蔡宏政), DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) and New Taipei City (新北市) office director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政).
The most notable participant at the meeting is former DPP legislator Sheng Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), who quit the party due to ideological differences and has become known for his sharp criticism of the party, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said.
Su insisted on having Sheng at the meeting so the discussion would be more inclusive, Wang said, adding that former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) cannot attend because she is visiting Israel.
The second meeting, which is to focus on how the DPP should handle the so-called “1992 consensus,” is expected to take place on July 25.
Former National Security Council (NSA) secretary-general under the DPP administration Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), the host of the second meeting, and Su Chi (蘇起), former NSA secretary-general under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and who coined the term “1992 consensus,” are expected to engage in intriguing discussion in the second meeting.