The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders to make clear their positions on the proposed suspension of the party’s so-called “Taiwan independence clause.”
The independence clause is an article in the DPP’s charter that calls for the establishment of a Republic of Taiwan.
Beijing has always said that the clause is a primary roadblock to engaging with the DPP.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) proposed on Thursday that the party abandon the clause in order to strengthen communications with China, sparking confusion over the DPP’s China policy and its position on independence.
KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said yesterday that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should say whether they believe the clause remains a core value for the DPP.
“The Republic of China [ROC] is a sovereign country, and if the proposed suspension of the clause means that the DPP is moving closer to [recognition of] the ROC, the KMT would welcome such a transition,” he said.
Yang said the clause, which calls for a referendum on the creation of a Republic of Taiwan is not in line with public opinion or international reality.
“The DPP has participated in elections under the ROC’s constitutional system and was in power for eight years, but is still unable to face reality,” he said.
Su and many DPP members have shrugged off Ker’s proposal.
Suspending the clause, Su said, is a non-issue because the DPP views Taiwan as an independent and sovereign country given the constitutional amendments, presidential elections and legislative elections that have taken place over the years.
Yang said that since the DPP has not abolished the clause, it remains important for the party.
The party’s poor handling of the clause, he said, reflects the lack of consistency and the instability of its cross-strait policies.
Meanwhile yesterday, former minister of defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said he was disappointed with Ker’s proposal, saying “it was inappropriate at this time that Ker should propose an amendment that dances to China’s tune.”
Tsai made the remarks at an event jointly hosted by the Taiwan United Nations Alliance and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
Executive-director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who also took attended the event, said many were surprised by Ker’s “personal views” expressed during the party’s meeting on China policy on Thursday.
Wu added that Taiwan is an independent sovereign state, evident by its direct presidential and legislative elections and conscription system.
Additional reporting by Chen Ching-min