Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) yesterday called for the establishment of a grand coalition government and immediate cross-strait political negotiations to rejuvenate stagnant economic exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
With President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) receiving low approval ratings and domestic politics stagnating due to fierce political competition, it is time to establish a grand coalition government to provide the nation with much needed political mobility to move forward, Hsu said.
“No political party in Taiwan will be able to carry out reform and move this country forward alone,” said Hsu, who unveiled his paper, titled What should Taiwan do?, covering a wide range of national issues, at a press conference.
Hsu said that a grand coalition “is a must-have for Taiwan.”
The former DPP chair, who is known for his moderate policies toward China later in his political career, expressed concern about the nation’s stagnant economy in the two-hour press conference at his office, which also doubles as the Taipei liaison office of China’s Xiamen University.
With 40 percent of exports going to China, Taiwan’s economy is now closely tied with China’s, Hsu said. As any effort by Taiwan to seek regional and global economic integration would be inevitably dictated by Beijing, it is imperative for Taiwan to actively pursue political dialogue with China, so the economy can recover, Hsu said.
Hsu said that Taiwan’s negotiations with China for a trade in goods agreement and a trade in services agreement appeared to be stalling, which could put Taiwanese businesses at a disadvantage if South Korea, Japan and other major economies sign free-trade agreements with China.
The proposed dialogue would not be conducted for political purposes, but rather to save Taiwan’s economy, Hsu said.
Hsu said he recognized that Taiwanese have been reluctant and suspicious about cross-strait political talks, but insisted that dialogue would not be harmful because “it is just dialogue.”
Those who have doubts about the government’s position in the negotiations, including opposition parties, pro-Taiwan independence groups and civic groups, would all be welcome to participate in the talks, Hsu said.
In the statement, which covered 16 A4-size pages, Hsu also touched upon a number of domestic issues, such as the dispute surrounding nuclear energy, pension reform and the establishment of six free economic pilot zones, and criticized the Ma administration for its incompetence.
Hsu said the debate about the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), was “a no-brainer,” adding that the construction must stop because Taiwan cannot afford any risks of a potential nuclear disaster, in particular after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant incident in Japan.
Hsu said Taiwan would be able to generate sufficient electricity through wind power and solar power and called for the privatization of the electricity market in Taiwan.