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Talk of the Day -- DPP to unveil China policy in early 2014

All eyes are on the opposition Progressive Democratic Party (DPP) as it prepares to issue a report on the party's policy toward China, which is expected to be finalized Jan. 9. With the policy's potential for winning votes in the 2016 presidential election, much is at stake for the party, which is desperate to win power for a second time. Despite signs that the DPP wants to achieve a breakthrough in arguably the weakest link of its policy, it could be difficult to form any kind of consensus within the party on an issue as sensitive as China, not least because presidential hopeful and former party chair Tsai Ing-wen has not taken part in the process of coming up with the policy report. In addition, Tsai has been reticent after a party veteran proposed last week the freezing of an article in the party platform that calls for the establishment of a Republic of Taiwan. In the final round of a series of meetings held to review the DPP's policies, Legislator Ker Chien-ming suggested that the party freeze the 1991 amendment to the party's platform. The amendment is often referred to as "the Taiwan Independence Platform" for its advocacy of a new republic with a new constitution. Ker's proposal was immediately welcomed by Beijing but drew mixed reactions from his own party, even though for many, the article was superseded by a resolution the party adopted in 1999, dubbed the "Resolution on the Future of Taiwan," which says Taiwan is already a sovereign independent country to which Beijing's one-China principle does not apply. The resolution does not mention the need for a new basic law. Compared with some of the more severe criticism, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang's reaction seems ambivalent, as he has stressed the importance of the resolution but has not said whether he endorses or opposes Ker's proposal. The following are excerpts of some of the major local newspapers' coverage of the development: United Daily News: The draft of the DPP's "Summary of Current Policy Toward China" calls for better treatment of Chinese people, especially Chinese spouses, students and tourists in Taiwan, in order to turn them into supporters of Taiwan and its democracy. On national security, the draft says Taiwan should increase its defense spending as a way that can rebuild the confidence of Taiwan's public, military and allies. It says there is no need to change the basic position and core values laid out in the party's "Resolution on the Future of Taiwan," but the party should handle new issues with more pragmatism so that the people of Taiwan can have confidence in the DPP's ability to handle cross-Taiwan Strait relations. The draft has seen some modifications and will not be finalized until the party's committee on China affairs holds a meeting Jan. 9, said Hung Tsai-lung, director of the DPP's department of China affairs. Liberty Times: Ker's proposal came under fire from former DPP officials, including Wu Rong-i and Tsai Ming-shian, who served as vice premier and defense minister, respectively, in the administration of former President Chen Shui-bian. Su said that the DPP's policy at various stages has always been rooted in the principle of power belonging to the people. In 1999, the "Resolution on the Future of Taiwan" ascertained Taiwan's status as a sovereign independent country rather than a part of the People's Republic of China, said Su, adding that is the most important consensus of the people of Taiwan. The DPP will stick to that position, Su said. The fact that all kinds of opinions can be heard and debated in the process of consensus-building reflects the freedom and openness of Taiwan's society and its values, he added.

Updated : 2021-04-23 02:18 GMT+08:00