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May 30, 2017

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DPP urged to take new cross-strait approach

The China Post--In contrast to the Kuomintang (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lacks a viable framework for defining cross-strait relations, former DPP Legislator Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) said yesterday at a forum held by the Taiwan Development and Cultural Interchange Association (台灣發展與文化交流協會).

Former Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) "constitutions with differing interpretations" brings the issue of cross-strait relations back to the Constitution of the Republic of China, Kuo explained; given that DPP members participate in governmental and political affairs under the R.O.C.'s constitutional framework, "the DPP needs to come to terms with the Constitution."

The KMT's so-called "1992 Consensus" can only be used to deal with some of the more superficial cross-strait matters, Kuo added; on the other hand, by delineating the fundamental differences between Taiwan and China, Hsieh's "constitutions with differing interpretations" may prove to be a viable alternative for some of the more complicated issues.

Despite the fact that mainland China has never openly accepted the KMT's "one China with differing interpretations," both sides of the Taiwan Strait have signed 18 agreements since President Ma Ying-jeou took office, Kuo said.

Although Beijing does not approve of "one China with differing interpretations," it sees hope and good will in the idea, Kuo maintained, adding that Hsieh's "constitutions with differing interpretations" possesses similar qualities.

The fact that Beijing hasn't openly rejected Hsieh's idea indicates that the concept itself is viable, Kuo said, adding that mainland authorities will see it as a mark of progress on behalf of the DPP.

The DPP's "Taiwan Consensus" and "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" are only applicable for internal matters and do not offer answers to the definition of cross-strait relations, Kuo argued.

Chen Sung-shan (陳淞山), ex-director of former President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) office, yesterday criticized the DPP for holding off discussions on cross-strait relations after Hsieh's return from China.

In response, DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said that the party encourages cross-strait exchanges and was happy to see Hsieh take a personal visit to the mainland.

"We live in a democratic society, and the party respects Hsieh's opinions, but the former premier's personal remarks do not reflect the party's consensus," Lin added.

"Why hasn't the debate on China policies begun yet? Many have called for it several times," asked DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), who is said to be a protege of Hsieh's. The media have been fervently discussing the outcome of Hsieh's China visit, while the DPP has remained mum on the issue, which is very unfortunate, Chao added.

Hsieh's trip shows that China is willing to engage in dialogue without premises, Chao said, adding that the DPP doesn't need to limit itself.

As a decisive chairman, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) should at least be able to demarcate issues safe for discussion, and allow everyone to participate in the debate, thereby proving to the public that the DPP is capable of handling cross-strait issues, Chao added.

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