Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said he disagreed that the party’s recently concluded review of its China policy was unimpressive and conservative and called on Beijing to win over Taiwanese with encouragement and “observation from a distance.”
Addressing the DPP’s China policy review for the first time since it was announced on Thursday, Su yesterday reaffirmed that the party considers Taiwan to be a sovereign and independent country during an interview with Radio Taiwan International, a state-funded station, which has a mainly Chinese audience.
The policy review concluded that the resolution on Taiwan’s future in 1999 — which defined Taiwan as a sovereign country while acknowledging the Republic of China as the nation’s formal title — has been accepted by the majority of the public and would remain the DPP’s core value and position.
While observers described the review as a “cliche [and] without new ideas” and some party members proposed freezing the Taiwan independence clause to allow the party to better engage with China, the chairman insisted that the DPP’s China policy was the right path.
In the DPP’s historical process, the Taiwan independence clause is “a chapter in the past” as the nation “is already a sovereign and independent... There is no need to freeze or abolish anything,” he said.
“If you are a man, you do not have to tell people that you are a man every day,” Su said as a way of explaining his view. “Is it strange to negate what you did when you were 13 or 20 years old?”
Cross-strait relations have become important and complex, so it would be fantasy to approach the relationship with a simple term, such as the so-called “1992 consensus,” he said in response to questions over whether the DPP would come up with an innovative term to beat out the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and facilitate better ties with Beijing.
Su said the relationship should be like “a seagull on the beach.”
“A man on a beach should learn how to watch a seagull and appreciate its beauty from a distance. If he tried to catch it, it would fly away,” Su said, adding that China should not stand in Taiwan’s way if it was serious about winning over Taiwanese hearts.
If China refrained from oppressing the nation’s international space and respected it in bilateral engagements, this would create a “China plus one” situation, meaning that both sides could coexist in the international community, Su said.
The senior politician said Beijing should be wary of “hearing only those things it wants to hear” and setting preconditions over any bilateral engagements.
Looking back at the party’s loss in the presidential election in 2012, Su said that while a sincere and complete review was necessary, he suspected that the DPP’s China policy was not the most important factor in the loss.