Frank Hsieh defends constitutions initiative

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 - Page 3

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said his visit to China was an attempt to normalize cross-strait exchanges and reiterated that advocating “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) remained the best initiative to deal with future relations with China.

Hsieh summed up his recent landmark five-day trip to China and explained in length his initiative, which was criticized by many fellow Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, during a 90-minute meeting with the press yesterday.

The visit was a personal effort by Hsieh to try to normalize exchanges between the DPP and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) so that Taiwan’s party politics could be freed from interference by the CCP and to reverse some of the myths and distorted perceptions which exist about the DPP, he said.

Better understanding, mutual trust and exchanges between the DPP and the CCP would reduce miscalculation by Beijing and ensure that future DPP engagement with China would not be stigmatized as “kowtowing to China or selling out Taiwan,” Hsieh said.

The trip was planned and executed under the grand scheme of the DPP’s quest of returning to power, rather than being driven by personal ambitions, Hsieh said.

On his initiative to replace the so-called “1992 consensus” with “constitutions with different interpretations,” which had drawn criticism from DPP members, Hsieh said the DPP’s refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, given that it was a former ruling party in power for eight years, does not make sense.

“Meanwhile, the DPP’s democratic achievements — direct presidential elections and the full re-election of the ROC National Assembly and Legislative Yuan — were documented in the ROC Constitution,” Hsieh said.

“The initiative basically tells you that there are two constitutions on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, which is a fact,” Hsieh said, adding that it has nothing to do with the “one China” ideology.

Hsieh insisted his initiative remained the best and the most pragmatic option to forge better cross-strait relations until it was challenged and replaced by a better solution.

“I welcome all opinions and criticism, but you would have to convince me with a better idea,” he said.

Hsieh went on to describe President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China policy of “no unification, no independence and no use of force” as “Nihilism.”

“It would take at least 20 years to resolve the cross-strait issue, but the DPP is going to duel with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] again in four years,” he said.

Hsieh said the DPP would need a new mindset and approach to win back power and that he is determined to “move forward rather than stay at the same place arguing with each other.”