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DPP politicians call for debate on China policy

DPP politicians call for debate on China policy

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) A group of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators proposed Thursday that a debate be held within the party as part of its efforts to formulate a policy toward China. The DPP's China Affairs Commitee should use the debate to build intraparty consensus on China affairs and involve more party members in the policymaking process, Gao Jyh-peng said. Gao said he will officially put forth an initiative on the matter during the party's National Congress slated for May 25. "China policy is a major issue that the DPP cannot evade," he argued. He pointed out that the party last held a China policy debate in 1998, which led to its 1999 Resolution on Taiwan's Future. Although that document helped clarify among the DPP the relationship between "Taiwan" and its official name "the Republic of China," more discussions are needed on the problems between Taiwan and China, he said. The resolution, which technically replaced the "Taiwan independence clause" in the DPP charter, states that "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. Any change in the independent status quo must be decided by all the residents of Taiwan by means of plebiscite." According to Hsiao Bi-khim, the goal of the next China policy debate should be to work out a substantive approach to deal with Taiwan's current predicament, based on the 1999 resolution. Such an effort is essential for paving the DPP's way back to power and creating a new landscape for cross-Taiwan Strait relations, said Lin Chia-lung. Yao Wen-chih, meanwhile, said the debate should include issues such as Taiwan independence and "one China, different interpretations," in the hope of producing party guidelines for dealing with cross-strait relations. In response to the legislators' proposal, China Affairs Committee spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said the committee has formed a plan to meet with DPP local government chiefs, legislators, academics, Taiwanese businessmen operating in China and representatives of civic organizations to discuss related issues. DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien, meanwhile, said the party will consider the proposal if there is a consensus within the party to hold a debate. (By Tseng Ying-yu, Justin Su and Y.F. Low)