The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) discussion of its Taiwan independence policy again ended without a consensus yesterday, but participants agreed that the party should engage Beijing and establish an inter-party “constitutional consensus,” before forging closer ties with China.
“Participants agreed that cross-strait exchanges should not be monopolized by any party and the DPP should engage China with confidence. The party needs to fine-tune its policy to win the support of more voters and to resolve the ‘imbalance’ phenomenon,” said former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), convener of an enlarged meeting of the DPP’s China Affairs Committee (CAC).
“The third consensus [of the meeting] was that the DPP should promote constitutionalism in Taiwan and make constitutional consensus [between political parties] the foundation of cross-strait dialogue,” he added.
Hsieh denied that the issue of eliminating the party’s Taiwan independence chapter, which has existed since 1991, was discussed at the meeting. However, participants mentioned the formulation of a new resolution, which supposedly would “replace” the previous resolution.
The DPP’s position on Taiwan’s national status has been largely defined by its party charter, which mentions the establishment of the Republic of Taiwan, and its resolution on Taiwan’s future of 1999, which defines Taiwan as a sovereign country separate from China, while acknowledging the Republic of China (ROC) as the nation’s formal title.
However, several DPP members argued that the position is why Beijing has refused to engage in dialogue with the party and that the policy would have to be adjusted so that people would have confidence in the DPP’s ability to manage cross-strait relations.
Tung Cheng-yuan (童振源), a professor at National Chengchi University who previously served as deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, proposed that the party enact an “ROC resolution” which pledges that it would no longer attempt to change the nation’s formal title and establish a Republic of Taiwan.
The fundamental problem does not lie in the Taiwan independence policy, but in the party’s resolution on normalization of the country in 2007, which denounced the legality of the ROC government, former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) said after the meeting.
Several participants did mention the formulation of a new resolution for the DPP to better manage future cross-strait relations at the meeting, Hsu said.
“I don’t think the elimination of a past resolution would be meaningful. The problem is whether you can come up with a new resolution as the party’s guidance for the future,” Hsu said.