DPP's Ker urges freeze of independence clause
By Katherine Wei ,The China Post
December 28, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming called for the party to freeze the “Taiwan Independence Clause” in its party platform, Chairman Su Tseng-chang replied yesterday that the suggestion was not an issue as Taiwan is already an independent nation.
Ker made his statement during a conference regarding the party's cross-strait relations policies on Thursday, saying that the DPP should freeze its so-called Taiwan Independence Clause — which was centered on the party's belief that Taiwan should be independent from China — because continuing to pursue the ideology could delay the DPP's return to power.
If the DPP's agenda is a return to power, it will be necessary to show potential voters, China and the world that it is capable of maintaining cross-strait relations with a global outlook, said Ker, who also suggested that the clause could be “unfrozen” in the future.
Having stated that the idea was his own, Ker continued to say that in lieu of the original Taiwan independence movement his party once supported, the DPP should map out new cross-strait policies with a new global viewpoint.
The independence clause in the party's platform calls for the actual establishment of the Republic of Taiwan, instead of being ruled under the People's Republic of China. “The clause has already served a historical mission,” Ker stated.
According to Su, Taiwan has progressed through amending its Constitution, re-electing its legislature and also directly voting for its president; it is undoubtedly a sovereign nation with independent rights. “The freezing of the Taiwan Independence Clause should not be an issue,” Su concluded.
The DPP proposed the “Taiwan Independence Clause” during the martial law period, arguing that the power belongs to the people and insisting that Taiwan is an independent country, said Su. “After so many years of hardships and amendments, Taiwan also reinvented the provincial state; history walked us through these milestones, the most important thing to do now is to develop the nation.” The “reinvention of the provincial state” refers to the consensus between both ruling and opposition parties in 1996, who concluded that the Taiwan Provincial Government no longer had political rights over the central government.
Su notes that he respects Ker's opinion, but “the united opinion of us all should be prioritized. The biggest consensus Taiwan has at the moment is that 'We are an independent nation,' the future lies in the democracy and the hands of our 23 million people.”
May Induce Unnecessary Qualms: Lu
Former Vice President Annette Lu said that if the motive behind Ker's proposal is “communication between the DPP and China,” the proposal may cause unnecessary qualms and suspicions. “In 1991, the Taiwan Independence Clause stated that if the Republic of Taiwan is to be established, a referendum would be needed. But since 1996, people have been voting together for their president, regardless of their being pan-blue or green; the act already means that Taiwan is an independent country, with the name still being the Republic of China,” Lu explained.
The 1996 presidential elections later gave birth to the DPP's “Resolution on Taiwan's Future,” and the document clearly states that Taiwan is a nation with independent sovereign rights. “As we are now independent and called the Republic of China — the Resolution corrects the 'Republic of Taiwan' part in the clause. This is acceptable to people now, but there may be unnecessary questions raised if we freeze the clause to interact with China,” Lu said.