Hsieh still mulling China visit for bartending event

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Oct 01, 2012 - Page 3

A plan by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), an influential member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to visit China this month has been welcomed by a Shanghai-based Chinese international studies academic, who suggests that Beijing should also extend a welcome to the Taiwanese politician.

Both the Chinese Communist Party and the DPP, which advocates Taiwanese independence, should try and create opportunities for future interaction, Shen Dingli (沈丁立), deputy president of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, said in Shanghai.

“There should be a period of transition from no contact to contact,” he said.

Hsieh, who served as premier during the 2000 to 2008 administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said on Friday that he had accepted an invitation from the International Bartenders Association to visit Beijing this month to watch a world bartending competition.

He told the association that he will make the trip if all the required procedures can be completed without any glitches.

Shen said it is crucial for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to maintain the current status quo.

As long as political issues are put aside, he said, people with different political stances can still make friends with each other.

“I’m willing to make friends with Hsieh, even though I do not agree with many of his ideas,” he said.

If Hsieh does make the trip, it would signal that DPP leaders uphold a “higher consciousness” in the promotion of cross-strait peace, the academic said.

Even if Hsieh is opposed to unification of the two sides, “peace can still be achieved without talks on unification,” he said.

Hsieh, 66, is one of the founding members of the DPP and is considered by some observers as having a relatively flexible and open mind on cross-strait issues.