Former premier calls for change in China approach

FINDING COMMON GROUND::The DPP should hold debates on its China policy to build consensus among its members, a senior aide to the former premier said

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Oct 27, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwan should form a non-partisan approach toward China for the benefit of the whole country rather than any specific political party, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was quoted as saying yesterday.

Hsieh’s spokesman Lin He-ming (林鶴明) cited Hsieh as telling Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) during the latter’s visit on Thursday that it seemed like he was speaking for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) when he prodded Beijing to give Taiwan a bigger role on the international stage in a meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo (戴秉國) on Oct. 7 in Beijing.

However, Hsieh, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said he did this for the benefit of the whole country rather than any specific party, according to Lin.

Lin quoted Hsieh as telling Wang that the KMT and the DPP should exchange views on China-related issues.

It will not serve the interests of Taiwan if the two parties give the impression to Taiwanese and Chinese people that they prefer to talk with Beijing rather than with each other, Hsieh said.

He also told Wang that the KMT should keep complete records of its dialogue with Beijing because if the DPP assumes power it will inherit the results of the dialogue.

Wang, for his part, lauded Hsieh for his courage and vision as the highest ranking DPP official ever to visit China, adding he put a premium on Hsieh’s opinion.

Separately yestesday, Lin Yao-wen (林耀文), a senior aide to Hsieh, said the DPP should stage an internal debate on China policy to build a consensus on the party’s approach toward China.

“In regard to China, the party has no direction right now, only a debate can determine whether those who criticize Hsieh’s advocacy for dealing with China on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of China have a better idea,” Lin said.

In response, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) quoted DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying he believed that discussion, persuasion and peaceful exchanges of opinions between party members would be a more effective way of creating a consensus.

Wang said a single debate could not sort out political differences, pointing out that the party had already staged an open studio forum between August and September that broached many related issues.

Meanwhile, noting Su’s previous comment that Hsieh’s initiative of “constitutions with different interpretations” (憲法各表) was a personal opinion and not the party’s, Taipei City Councilor Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘) — a known supporter of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) faction within the party — said yesterday that just because Hsieh had visited China and proposed “constitutions with different interpretations,” it did not mean the party had to follow Hsieh’s lead.

Another Chen faction supporter DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said he did not support Hsieh’s proposal, which he said he found unconvincing.

Despite voicing his unwillingness to support Hsieh, Gao added he was in favor of discussion of the China issue within the party.

Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang