Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) returned from a four-day trip to Thailand last night with a number of urgent issues on his agenda.
During his trip, Su was able to avoid answering questions about the party’s position on several contentious issues, including former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposal for a national affairs conference and a campaign to recall “incompetent” lawmakers.
In a speech delivered to Taiwanese businesspeople on Saturday, Su said that recalling a president is difficult, given that it must be proposed by at least a quarter of the legislature and agreed to by at least two-thirds of lawmakers before passing a national referendum.
However, he did not address the civic movement to remove lawmakers, despite the initiators saying that they would welcome political parties’ support.
The DPP launched a similar campaign to recall President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers earlier this year, but has not taken any substantial steps toward this end.
Critics have cited this lack of progress as proof that the DPP has been marginalized by the rising wave of civic movements sweeping the nation.
Su also did not mention the Tsai initiative during the trip.
In his speech, Su reaffirmed the DPP’s determination and willingness to engage China in talks, but said that such efforts would not become a competition with the KMT to curry favor with Beijing.
“If the DPP competed with the KMT for China’s favor, it would become an expendable party,” he said.
Su led a delegation on the four-day trip, which began on Thursday. Yesterday, he visited to the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center to explore the Thai cultural creative industry. The trip is his third foreign tour this year, following visits to Japan and Singapore.
During his stay, Su met with many Taiwanese living in Thailand, which the DPP says is home to the largest contingent — 150,000 — of Taiwanese businesspeople in Asia.
The DPP leader also met with local politicians, including former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is now the head of the Democrat Party.
According to a DPP press release, Su and Abhisit reaffirmed their commitment to fostering closer bilateral ties and trade, with both agreeing on the importance for economies like Taiwan’s and Thailand’s to be independent and free from the control of more powerful counterparts.