Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday returned to Taipei from a five-day visit to China and described the trip as fruitful, despite Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members giving the landmark trip mixed reviews.
“We’ve achieved so much more than we expected. And we safeguarded Taiwan’s values and dignity during the trip,” Hsieh told reporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on his return from Beijing, where he met three senior Chinese officials in charge of Taiwan affairs over the weekend.
Hsieh, who visited China in a private capacity, became the most senior member of the former DPP administration to meet with high-ranking Chinese officials.
Photo: Yao Kai-shiou, Taipei Times
During his stay in the Chinese capital, the former DPP chairman met with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅), Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) and State Councilor Dai Bingguo (戴秉國).
Hsieh said he proposed to replace the so-called “1992 consensus,” which the DPP says never existed, with his initiative of "constitutions with different interpretations (憲法各表)" and urged Beijing to give Taiwan more international space during his meeting with Dai, who oversees China’s diplomatic affairs, on Sunday afternoon.
Those meetings ended with no consensus because both sides found it difficult to accept each other’s position, Hsieh said, “but we recognized each other’s good will to engage in dialogue.”
The veteran politician said his meetings with Chinese Communist Party officials were impromptu and not pre-arranged.
He said that it has been his belief that the cross-strait situation should “be positioned by the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution,” but acknowledged that DPP members remained divided over the proposal.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) did not directly address Hsieh’s trip, but said: “The DPP’s position [on its China policy] remains unchanged despite there being different opinions in the party.”
“The international community always encourages Taiwan and China to work out differences through dialogue ... The DPP always insists that engagement between Taiwan and China should be open and transparent,” Su told reporters.
Su reiterated that Taiwan should actively engage China with confidence because dialogue is essential for smoothing out differences and Taiwan would win out in the end because of its democratic values, openness and diversity.
While most DPP members and pan-green supporters recognized the trip as a positive step toward the DPP’s reconciliation with China, some of them criticized Hsieh during the past few days, accusing him of a lack of transparency in meeting with the officials.
Former DPP chairman Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) and Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) were among the strongest critics of Hsieh’s visit and proposals, saying that his initiative was not workable because the ROC Constitution remained highly controversial in Taiwan.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said yesterday morning that people should not read too much into the significance of Hsieh’s visit and that the DPP’s position, which supports the normalization of trade relations with China while safeguarding Taiwan’s identity and sovereignty, remained unchanged.
DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) lauded Hsieh’s effort to promote better ties between the party and Beijing, but said that Hsieh’s initiative would not be able to replace the “1992 consensus” because “consensus and ‘different interpretations’ are contradictory and not interchangeable.”
Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤), a member of the DPP’s Central Executive Committee, said Beijing took Hsieh’s visit seriously by sending three senior officials to meet him.
However, Hung said Hsieh probably still had to persuade DPP members and supporters by clearly explaining the evolution of his proposals over the past decade — from “one country, two cities” (一國兩市) in 2000 to the “Constitutional one China” (憲法一中) in 2006 and the “constitutions with different interpretations” and “Constitutional consensus” last year, Hung said.
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
The Chinese navy has the ability to blockade Taiwan, but doing so could prompt a coordinated response by the international community to intervene to resolve the crisis for Taiwan, US Vice Admiral Karl Thomas said. “Clearly if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic ... then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” the commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday. While he could not predict whether China would launch a full-scale
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758