DPP must change China policy: Hsieh

CHANGING TIMES::The former DPP presidential candidate said his ideas may not be perfect, but encouraged reconciliation with the KMT to address the nation’s problems

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should adjust its China policy and ensure that it is accepted by a majority of Taiwanese, as well as by Washington and Beijing if it is serious about getting back in power, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said on Sunday in Washington.

“If the DPP fails to make adjustments [to its China policy], the party will be marginalized due to a lack of international support,” Hsieh told the Taiwanese-American community during a speech titled “Taiwan restoration and its future” that he delivered at the Taiwanese Church of Greater Washington.

Hsieh, a moderate DPP figure on China affairs, laid out three goals for the DPP’s cross-strait policy, which is seen by many as crucial to the party’s bid to return to power.

First, the DPP must convince Taiwanese that it capable of managing risk in cross-strait affairs, and second, it must reassure the international community that it is able to maintain regional peace and stability if it returns to power, Hsieh said. Finally, the DPP should make people in Taiwan, China and in the wider international community understand that it seeks to safeguard the nation’s democratic system and encourage political reconciliation, he added.

The former DPP presidential candidate said his ideas may not be perfect, but that the DPP would have to try to ensure the majority of Taiwanese, as well as Washington, approved of its China policy and for Beijing to at least deem its policy “tolerable.”

Hsieh has been under fire for comments he made last week in which he described the party’s previous China policy as a “failure.” Hsieh’s own initiative of “constitutions with different interpretations (憲法各表),” aimed at easing tensions between the DPP and Beijing, has been heavily criticized by some party members and supporters of Taiwanese independence.

However, Hsieh said he was not concerned about backlash, saying that “the DPP is a boisterous party with diverse opinions, but it has always managed to come together once a presidential candidate has been chosen.”

Hsieh lamented what he called the DPP’s neglect of his initiative to seek reconciliation with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which he said is necessary because as both parties enjoy a stable support rate of about 40 percent, neither is able to throw a knockout punch against each other.

Most of the problems that the nation is facing today, including government finances, nuclear energy, pension reform and cross-strait relations, cannot be resolved by one political party, he added.

The “super stable” structure of the Constitution and a new world order which highlights cooperation to resolve conflicts, rather than the “choosing sides” seen during the Cold War also explains why consensus-seeking and reconciliation are increasingly important, he said.