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DPP still lacks China affairs chief consensus

The China Post news staff--The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) remains at the planning stage concerning moves to revive the party's China Affairs Committee, even after former Premier Frank Hsieh's successful visit to mainland China.

Giving away no details, the major opposition party is showing no hurry, but taking a go-slow approach to the issue, although Hsieh has been widely tipped to head the panel that will formulate the DPP's policies toward, and engage in direct dealings with, mainland China.

The prolonged postponement of the committee's reinstatement has been interpreted by some observers as caused mainly by the absence of a consensus within the party concerning who should be appointed to lead the committee.

Kuo Cheng-liang, a former DPP legislator, commented that there is no convincing reason for the delay.

No wonder there is now speculation even within the party that DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang has been worrying that his personal influence concerning cross-strait affairs could be eclipsed by others if the head of the panel is not one of his confidants, Kuo said.

Local media reported yesterday that Chen Sheng-hong, chairman of the DPP's Central Review Committee, expressed the view that the DPP can avoid the awkward situation of needing to abide by its “Taiwan independence” platform when dealing with Beijing if the party names a non-DPP member as the head of the China Affairs Committee.

He said the position can be taken up by an entrepreneur with fewer DPP connections.

Chen has not ruled out the possibility that Ho Chih-wei, a member of the DPP's Central Standing Committee, will bring up the proposal at a meeting of the decision-making panel.

Ho said that submitting such a proposal is just a measure concerning the personnel issue. But the key lies in the necessity of a consensus on the person to head the committee.

Former Premier Hsieh is undoubtedly an outstanding member of the party, but there are still many other talents available, Ho said. The chief of the China Affairs Committee should be decided jointly by the whole party, he said.

The candidate for the post should be someone who identifies with the DPP philosophy and policies, takes a pragmatic approach and has a strong academic background. It doesn't matter if the person holds DPP membership or not, he added.

Chen Sheng-hong has been seen as one of the DPP leaders who have maintained close ties with Chairman Su — who also has served as premier.

When questioned on the issue, DPP spokesman Wang Ming-sheng said that the China Affairs Committee is a platform for communications and dialogue within the DPP rather than a unit handling the party's external affairs.

But all the matters concerning the party's China Affairs Committee have been proceeding in accordance with the DPP's own tempo and schedule, Wang said. He added that the party will make public announcements after relevant major decisions are made.

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