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August 23, 2017

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Independence not 'campaign appeal': Hsieh

The China Post--Former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday remarked cryptically that the concept of Taiwan independence has a context and reason for existing, but that "it's not a campaign appeal."

In an interview yesterday with a local radio station, Hsieh was asked whether his ideas about cross-strait relations have room for the concept of Taiwan independence.

"Mainland China rejects the notion of 'different interpretations' and says that Taiwan independence has no future. Would you give up Taiwan independence?" asked interviewer Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) on Super FM 98.5 (寶島新聲廣播電台).

Hsieh responded that the concept of Taiwan independence has a context and reason for existing.

"But in the past three elections nobody has talked about Taiwan independence, we have to admit that. No candidate — not I, Tsai Ing-wen nor Chen Shui-bian — has talked about it. It's not a campaign appeal," said Hsieh.

"Whether the concept has a future depends on future cross-strait interaction," he said.

He said that Taiwan is already de facto independent, and that "there is no need to underscore independence."

During the interview, Hsieh also remarked on his recent trip across the Strait. He and high-profile Chinese officials had not seen eye to eye, but "no furniture was overturned," said Hsieh.

Hsieh said he made it very clear to mainland Chinese officials that "there is no '1992 Consensus.'" Specifically, he does believe that a cross-strait meeting took place in 1992, but the delegates had not struck the accord that has been touted since.

To Su, with Respect

Also yesterday, Hsieh said that he respects Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang's timetable for the new China Affairs Committee (中國事務委員會), but is ready to assist upon need.

Su's brainchild, the China Affairs Committee, has been widely regarded as a gesture of outreach across the Strait. Su has approached the project with caution, saying in mid-August that he "is in no hurry" to launch. In the wake of Hsieh's China trip, pundits have called on Su to hit the softball that Hsieh lined up.

The China Affairs Committee is Su's concept, said Hsieh, who has gained a reputation as Su's political rival.

When the committee is established and whether there is urgency are points on which he will respectfully defer to Su. He is prepared to assist with Su's project if there is a need, said Hsieh on a visit to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu yesterday.

In Kaohsiung, Chen Chu praised Hsieh for the cross-strait trip, calling it "a big step of importance." There may be some in the DPP who interpret the trip differently, but for the DPP and Taiwan society, crossing the Strait is a natural move, said Chen.

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