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May 29, 2017

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In effort to gain swing votes, DPP moves closer to KMT

Disregarding conspiracy theories, what the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost in the aftermath of former President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) conviction was the perception that it was immune to corruption — corruption being something that it has often accused the Kuomintang (KMT) of. What the DPP realized that it may lose, in order to regain power, is its claim to having a different position on cross-strait relations. The notion that it does have a different position, however, seems to be somewhat of an illusion.

Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), a likely contender for the presidential election in 2016, said that "Taiwan is the Republic of China; the Republic of China is Taiwan."

During his landmark trip to Xiamen (廈門), former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), of the DPP, said that he felt as if he were visiting his "brother's house."

On New Year's Day, Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), of the DPP, attended an R.O.C. National Flag raising ceremony and sang the R.O.C. National Anthem. The gesture was significant in the sense that Tainan is considered the independence movement's home turf. The goal of the independence movement is of course to abolish the R.O.C.

Despite maintaining that the DPP is not planning to revise its Taiwan Independence Clause, which DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said should be suspended, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), another likely contender for the 2016 presidential race, said that Taiwan is already an independent country and that his party has no plans to alter the R.O.C. Constitution either.

Su stressed that the fate of Taiwan must be decided democratically by the people of Taiwan, a statement which President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly made.

However, the Chairman also argued that mainland China has been using the "one China" principle to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan. The problem here is that if one accepts the R.O.C. Constitution, one must also accept that there is only one China. If Su has no plans to alter the constitution, then the one China principle stands. The Chairman understands all of this, but he has to frame his statements to make them sound more pleasing to his party's grassroots supporters, many of whom still believe that the DPP's ultimate goal is to fight for the establishment of a new republic.

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