Analysts at a forum yesterday gave former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) China visit positive responses and said it could be the catalyst for the transformation of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) China policy and pave the way for Beijing’s eventual recognition of the Republic of China (ROC).
“With the ‘constitutions with different interpretations (憲法各表)’ initiative, Hsieh was the first DPP politician to present an initiative on a framework for cross-strait relations,” former DPP lawmaker Julian Kuo (郭正亮) told the forum, organized by the Taiwan Development and Cultural Interchange Association and backed by Hsieh’s Taiwan Reform Foundation.
The DPP had refused to recognize the ROC for an extended period, even though it was in power for eight years, Kuo said.
“The party would take a giant step forward and create a ‘space’ for DPP-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dialogues if it could approach cross-strait relations under the ROC Constitution framework,” he added.
Political commentator Chen Sung-shan (陳淞山) said Beijing’s welcome of Hsieh was likely a result of its displeasure with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) hesitation over political talks and its intention to establish a channel of communication with the DPP.
Chen suspects that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has been trying to hold Hsieh back for fear that Hsieh would dominate DPP-CCP communications. DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) later rebuffed the comment, saying that Su has always recognized Hsieh’s contribution.
DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), a member of Hsieh’s faction, said the former premier’s initiative would create the possibility for DPP-CCP dialogues due to the ambiguity of the ROC Constitution.
“Beijing would love to highlight the implication of the ‘one China’ framework in the ROC Constitution while Taiwanese would stress the Constitution’s implication of sovereignty,” Chao said.
Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), a professor at National Chengchi University, cited the DPP’s loss in the January presidential election as a reason why the party should find a way to deal with cross-strait engagement.
According to Tung’s estimation, 5.75 percent of voters switched support during the final two weeks of the campaign because of their doubts about the DPP’s ability to handle cross-strait affairs.
Among those who changed sides, 4.25 percent favored Ma due to economic concerns, Tung said.