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Tsai's China policy to rely on public consensus, democratic ideals

Tsai's China policy to rely on public consensus, democratic ideals

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen said Friday that she will abide by the Republic of China constitutional system and rely on democratic principles and the greatest possible public consensus to promote her China policy.

Tsai, considered a virtual shoo-in to win the Jan. 16 presidential election, also said that she was willing to discuss different options and do her best to "seek methods of exchanges acceptable to both sides of the Taiwan Strait."

She was speaking in the first televised forum for presidential candidates to present their political positions held Friday night. Elaborating on the DPP's advocacy of "maintaining the status quo" in relations with China, she said the DPP's version was different from that of President Ma Ying-jeou.

"My maintaining the status quo is democratic and transparent with the participation of the people, and will have no democratic digression," she pledged.

"My goal is to maintain fairness and justice, (with the benefits of cross-strait exchanges) to be shared by the public and not dominated by a few or the powerful," she said.

She said maintaining the status quo is "to ensure the options of the Taiwanese people," while Ma's cross-strait policy is to "limit" the public's options.

On the DPP's refusal to back the "1992 consensus" that the incumbent Kuomintang government has used to underpin relations with China, Tsai said the DPP has "never denied the historical fact of cross-strait talks in 1992."

The party has "identified with the spirit that both sides, based on mutual understanding, showed in seeking common ground and putting aside differences then," she said.

But after 2000, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have had different perceptions of the "1992 consensus" coined by the KMT, and that there were different versions even within the KMT itself, she said.

Tsai noted remarks by President Ma that the 1992 consensus targeting the "one-China" principle during his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in November was tilted increasingly in Beijing's favor, which has worried people in Taiwan, especially the younger generation.

Noting that Eric Chu, the KMT's presidential candidate, said that not accepting the "1992 consensus" was a provocation, she said such remarks showed a lack of serious thought on cross-strait issues.

She described it as a fact that the KMT has lost support and credibility on the issue of the "1992 consensus," and urged the KMT to "return to the spirit of seeking common ground and putting aside differences" shown in the 1992 talks.

She said that she would not provoke China, and expressed the hope that both sides could sit down for rational talks.

Tsai said that when the DPP first gained power in 2000, it was inexperienced, but after examining its positions and learning, it has now broached a sound and solid cross-strait policy, which she said will not only narrow the gap with China but safeguard the free and democratic way of Taiwanese people.

Tsai said that the public wants cross-strait peace but is worried about the KMT's "closed-door" approach in dealing with cross-strait issues, which she said would deny people the opportunity to express their views and lose their right to have options in the future.

She called on the KMT, while wishing for good relations with China, will also understand Taiwanese people's expectations of cross-strait tries.

Taiwanese people are worried that Chinese enterprises, with government backing, will move into Taiwan to break and control Taiwan's self-controlled industrial structure.

On the economic front, Tsai said that when she was vice premier, Taiwan's economic growth was nearly 6 percent and said that if elected, she would lead the nation out of its economic woes.

She criticized the current administration for targeting short-term stimulus measures to give "short-term euphoria."

Tsai noted that small- and medium-sized enterprises were once the engine of Taiwan's economic development, but they are now facing steeper competition from China and difficulty in upgrading their skills.

The global economic slowdown and China's red supply chain are facts, she acknowledged, but "small- and medium-sized enterprises are capable of tiding over difficulties and are simply waiting for the government to give them direction."

She blasted the Ma administration for offering "only slogans without substantive measures to help industries upgrade and tap into new markets."

Tsai said the DPP's first step will be to promote five innovative research projects covering green energy technology, smart machinery, the Internet of Things, biomedicine and the national defense sector.

She also stressed that she will put equal emphasis on exports and domestic demand to create a stronger foundation for Taiwan's economy.

The five innovative projects and the strategy to expand domestic demand will help create more job opportunities and enable Taiwanese to earn dignified salaries based on skills and expertise, breaking away from the trends of low salaries and overwork and improving the overall quality of life. (By Lilian Wu)

Updated : 2021-09-22 10:13 GMT+08:00