Former premier calls for non-partisan approach toward China

Taipei, Oct. 26 (CNA) Taiwan should form a non-partisan approach toward China for the benefit of the whole country rather than any specific political party, former Premier Frank Hsieh was quoted as saying Friday. Hsieh's spokesman Lin Ho-ming cited the former premier as telling Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi that it seemed like he was speaking for the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) when he prodded Beijing to give Taiwan a bigger role on the international stage during his meeting with Dai Bingguo, a member of China's State Council. However, Hsieh said he did this for the benefit of the whole country rather than any specific party, according to Lin. Hsieh met Dai in Beijing on Oct. 7 during a visit to China that ran Oct. 4-8. Lin quoted Hsieh as telling Wang that the KMT and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should exchange views on China-related issues. It will not serve the interests of Taiwan if the two parties give the impression to Taiwanese and Chinese people that they prefer to talk with Beijing rather than with each other, Hsieh said. He also told Wang that the KMT should keep complete records of its dialogue with Beijing because if the DPP assumes power it will inherit the results of the dialogue. Wang, who called on Hsieh to compare notes with him on China-related issues, lauded Hsieh for his courage and vision to be the highest ranking DPP official ever to visit China, adding that he put a premium on Hsieh's opinion. Also on Friday, Lin Yao-wen, a senior aide to Hsieh said the DPP should stage an internal debate on China policy to build a consensus on the party's approach toward China. "In regard to China, the party is lost for direction right now, only a debate can determine whether those who criticize Hsieh's advocacy for dealing with China on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of China have a better idea," Lin said. Hsieh has never said he has a monopoly on good ideas, but has said a debate may bring out the best idea, the spokesman said, adding that Hsieh believes the DPP should build a consensus before setting up a commission of China affairs. However, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng quoted DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang as saying he was worried that a debate would split the party, instead of building a consensus. He said Su believed that discussion, persuasion and peaceful exchanges of opinions between party members would be a more effective way of creating consensus. Wang said a single debate could not sort out political differences, pointing out that the party had already staged an open studio forum between August and September that broached many related issues. (By Justin Su and Maubo Chang)