Taipei mayor urges KMT and DPP to make peace
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, widely believed to be eyeing the Kuomintang candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, attended a forum hosted by the Democratic Progressive Party yesterday, as he called for cooperation between the ruling and opposition camps.
August 31, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Hau, who served as the environment minister for more than two years in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration before leaving in 2003, spoke about the nation's environmental energy policy at the forum, which was held to recapitulate the party's eight-year rule of the nation between 2000 and 2008.
But the mayor, in an article that appeared earlier on the same day in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, gave what he called some “honest advice” to the DPP, maintaining that Taiwan will not have a future if the ruling and opposition camps cannot make peace.
He said the DPP must see politics in the perspective of “responsibility sharing,” taking more positive actions, staging fewer protests and beefing up communication with the Kuomintang (KMT).
“Responsibility sharing” means the ruling party has to shoulder responsibility for all government policies, including those from previous administration, and the opposition camp must be ready to do the same if it takes over the government, Hau said.
He cited his predecessor Chen Shui-bian as an example. Chen, while running for the mayor of Taipei in the 1990s, vowed to demolish the MRT Mucha Line (Wenshen Line), which was at the time experiencing problems with its construction.
But when he became mayor, he continued building it, and since then, the elevated line has become an important part of the city's MRT network, Hau said.
Few government administrators would make decisions lightly to completely overturn their predecessors' policies, because responsibility sharing is the norm for democratic politics, he said.
But when he became president, Chen made a decision that shocked the nation and the KMT in particular: he suspended the construction on Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, completely discarding the previous administration's energy policy.
Having failed to obtain a consensus from the nation and the KMT, Chen completely destroyed the foundation of trust between the ruling and opposition camps, he said.
Since then, Taiwan has been deeply mired in endless conflicts between the KMT and DPP, and there have been no breakthroughs in the stalemate.
Hau said the nuclear power issue must return to the norm of democratic politics, and be resolved through negotiation and communication.
Hau noted that former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen earlier proposed President Ma Ying-jeou hold a national affairs conference to discuss pressing issues, including the row over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Hau said he was happy to see that proposal, only to be disappointed by Tsai's subsequent demand that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project be suspended first before holding the conference. Ma ignored her call.
The mayor said no presumptions or conditions must be set for such meetings.
In response to Hau's calls, Tsai said that the issue with holding such a national affairs conference is not about setting conditions, but about the ruling party's sincerity.
Tsai chose not to attend the DPP forum, but instead had her think tank organize an event where a major economist talked about the challenges facing Japan's economy. Having lost in the 2012 presidential election, Tsai is eyeing a comeback in 2016, which means Hau is her potential contender.