Wed, Jan 08, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Heated debate expected at DPP meeting

POLICY SHOWDOWN:Senior party members have slammed the draft China policy report as being ‘conservative’ and lacking a conclusion on Taiwan’s political status

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Joseph Wu, executive director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s Policy Research Committee, talks to reporters at the party’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Heated debate is expected in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) meeting tomorrow, despite it having been scheduled as an occasion for the party to finalize and unveil its “new and improved” China policy, with DPP members still arguing about the independence clause and the party’s stance on facilitating cross-strait exchanges.

The moderate wing of the party, led by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), published articles on various platforms ahead of tomorrow’s meeting — the finale of a series of seminars and expanded meetings held in the past seven months — to criticize the party’s “conservative stance” in the draft report.

The meeting drew even more attention from DPP members and political observers after DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) proposed freezing the party’s Taiwan independence clause to reduce tensions between Beijing and the DPP, and to facilitate bilateral dialogue.

Hsieh, who advocated “two sides, two constitutions (兩岸兩憲)” as the foundation of bilateral engagement, said in an op-ed piece published by the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday that his initiative had been revised to the “constitutionalism consensus,” which is vastly different from his proposal.

The former premier urged the DPP to “review, integrate and summarize” the three resolutions on Taiwan’s political status — the independence clause written in 1991, the resolution on Taiwan’s future in 1999 and the resolution on a normal country in 2007 — and unify the party’s position on the highly contentuous issue.

Former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) lambasted the draft report, which was sent to DPP politicians for final review, saying that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) China policy “was more conservative and unrealistic than [that of] former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).”

Su’s position on China was based on the 1999 resolution on Taiwan’s future, which was a “cliche,” Kuo said, adding that the DPP under Su’s leadership has been “passive” about cross-strait engagement and highlighted political confrontation.

Kuo described as “unfeasible” the DPP’s provisional conclusion of its new China policy that stressed support of human rights, freedom and a democratic movement in China, and advocated a “value-based diplomacy.”

“From what I’ve seen, the DPP still has not found the solution to replace the Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] so-called ‘1992 Consensus,’ which has been accepted by Beijing as the foundation for bilateral exchanges,” Kuo said.

Responding to the criticism, the DPP’s Policy Research Committee executive director Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that the draft report was a summary of the consensus of previous meetings and could be revised again, if that was the consensus of those who would attend the meeting.

“We still think that freezing the independence clause is not an issue, because Taiwan is already a sovereign and independent country,” he said, adding that he was unsure if Ker would again propose freezing the clause.

Meanwhile, National Chengchi University professor Tung Cheng-yuan (童振源) and former Straits Exchange Foundation president Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌) reportedly will announce a three-point initiative on the DPP’s China policy, which would propose freezing the independence clause and passage of a resolution that recognizes the Republic of China (ROC); establishing a non-partisan committee to promote peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait; and endorsing Hsieh’s “two sides, two constitutions” proposal.

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