The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) denied a media report yesterday that its chairperson has been invited by the US government for a visit, calling it “groundless."
Citing anonymous sources, the Chinese-language China Times reported that the US invited DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to visit after she took over as head of the party in late May to discuss the direction of the DPP’s China policy, but that Tsai was unwilling to “accept the invitation.”
The China Times said that following the student-led Sunflower movement against a cross-strait trade pact earlier this year, the DPP has again advocated a Taiwanese independence platform, and that Tsai was reluctant to visit over fears of a backlash from the US.
The DPP said in a statement yesterday that the media report was not true, denying that the US government had invited Tsai after she became DPP chairperson.
The report’s claims that Tsai was “unwilling” to go and that she “has not responded positively” are groundless, the DPP statement said.
The DPP said some individuals did invite Tsai to the US and the party did follow up, but because July and August are vacation months in the US, the other side felt that a visit during the summer was inappropriate.
After this month, Tsai would be in full campaign mode to back DPP candidates in the nation’s Nov. 29 elections, which is why no substantive conclusion has been reached on the timing of a visit, although the DPP aims to remain in contact with the individuals, the party’s statement said.
The DPP attaches great importance to exchanges with the US, and communications with it have been friendly and smooth, the statement added, saying the party regretted the misleading reports by the China Times.
Though the China Times cited unnamed sources for its report, it also quoted former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) as saying that the US could not agree with the DPP’s leaning toward Taiwanese independence advocates after the student protests in March.
The US Department of State invited Tsai for a visit after Tsai took over the party’s helm, but she was wavering and dared not accept the invitation, Kuo reportedly said.
Kuo said Tsai’s advocacy of a “Taiwan consensus” in her presidential campaign in 2012 was seen as empty by US officials, leading them to conclude that it was too vague to be an alternative to the so-called “1992 consensus.”
The “1992 consensus” refers to what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) describes as a tacit understanding reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that “there is only one China with each side free to interpret what that means.”
The DPP says the “1992 consensus” does not exist.
Kuo reportedly told the China Times that Tsai has been unable to come up with a substantive cross-strait program after losing the 2012 election and her party has now fallen prey to Taiwan independence forces, with momentum to block cross-strait trade development getting stronger.