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Taiwan party head wants to set aside cross-strait talks: source

Publication Date : 29-10-2012

 

The most important things for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to focus on right now are the nation's economy and the welfare of the public, a source close to DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang said yesterday, adding that a formal discussion on cross-strait relations within the DPP should be set aside for now.

Former premier Frank Hsieh's recent visit to mainland China and subsequent proposal of “constitutions with different interpretations” as a cross-strait policy guideline have sparked heated debate within the DPP.

Although there are no plans to host a formal debate, the DPP organised a forum, inviting past officials of the Mainland Affairs Council and numerous experts to give talks on China, the source added.

If the DPP were to organise a debate on China right now, it would find itself caught in an undesirable position, the source said, adding that the party should wait until the issue has cooled down so that it can discuss the matter properly without external influences.

Political commentators have suggested that if the opposition chooses to remain silent on its cross-strait stance, it will make a target out of itself for the Kuomintang (KMT) to attack.

The DPP may very well find itself an opposition party forever if it does not come up with a cross-strait policy guideline, said Albert Lin, a core member of Hsieh's political faction.

Domestic issues, such as the nation's economy, are related to cross-strait relations, DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kun said yesterday. He urged Su not to treat the two separately.

“Instead of criticising Su, we should help him,” Hung added.

According to local reports, DPP lawmaker Chao Tien-lin, a protege of Hsieh's, recently criticised Su for ignoring the matter. The criticism was interpreted by political commentators as a rupturing of the already tenuous relationship between Hsieh and Su.

Chao responded yesterday by saying that he did not intend to put Su in a difficult position, and that he will respect the chairman's and the headquarters' decision on whether not to hold a formal debate on cross-strait policies.

“Members of the DPP have differing opinions when it comes to cross-strait relations. It would be nice for everyone to use the party as a platform to exchange their ideas ... be it in the form of a discussion or a formal debate ... so that the facts can emerge properly; otherwise, there is a greater margin for misunderstandings, and a consensus will never be formed,” the legislator said.

When the “Resolution on Taiwan's Future” was ratified by the DPP in 1999 as a policy guideline, it had already been thoroughly deliberated by party members, Chao said, adding that since there won't be any major elections within the next two years, this is the perfect time for the opposition to consolidate its cross-strait guidelines.

Hung said Su believes that the most important issues right now are the economy and the welfare of the public. Hung added that the chairman thinks the DPP should set aside formal discussions on cross-strait matters.

The KMT has remained consistent with regard to its cross-strait policies, and various members have said that they would be happy to see the DPP change its position, a KMT official said.

If the DPP were to change its position, the KMT may find itself at a disadvantage come election time, but the ruling party understands that a warming of ties between both sides of the Strait is beneficial to Taiwan, and therefore would be glad, nevertheless, to see the DPP alter its stance, the official added.

 

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