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Surprise proposal stirs DPP China policy debate
Central News Agency
2013-12-26 11:35 PM
Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight stirred up discussion in the opposition party Thursday when he proposed a "freeze" on the party's platform on Taiwan independence in an attempt to soften the party's edge when dealing with China to win more votes. Legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming made the proposal during a conference on where the DPP, known for keeping its distance from China, would take its China policy. Ker suggested putting the platform amendment adopted in 1991 on hold to "create a brand new situation" as it has been handicapped at the polls and in relations with China because of its cross-Taiwan Strait policy. The move caught those present by surprise and drew negative responses from several participants before the proposal was put aside on the grounds that it was not on the conference agenda. Still, Ker's suggestion ignited a heated debate over what direction the historically pro-independence party should be headed in terms of Taiwan's independence or unification with China. The pro-independence amendment has been superseded by a 1999 document called the "Resolution on Taiwan's Future," which many felt was a step back for the party. The amendment, often referred to as the "Taiwan independence platform," calls for replacing the Republic of China government with a Republic of Taiwan and a new constitution. By contrast, the resolution on the future of Taiwan favors the status quo, saying Taiwan is already a sovereign independent country to which Beijing's "one-China" principle cannot apply. Any changes to its independent status will have to be decided on by Taiwan's residents through a referendum, the resolution says. It does mention the need for a new constitution. Countering Ker's proposal, former lawmaker Lin Cho-shui said that "Taiwanese independence is a position, not a policy, meaning there is no need for an adjustment." The veteran politician known as the "master theorist" for Taiwan independence is the lead author of the 1991 amendment to the platform. "Since it is the mainstream political view that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country, why should we make any adjustment to that or give it up?" he asked. Where the DPP lags behind the KMT is not its "political position" on independence but rather its "China policy," he said, calling for concrete proposals on how to improve relations with China. On the other side, Wu Ping-jui, a DPP legislator close to party Chairman Su Tseng-chang, said that freezing the amendment would not be too big a break from the status quo as a declaration of Taiwanese independence is no longer an issue. The resolution already says that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country, Wu said. Chen Ting-fei, another DPP lawmaker, said what Taiwan needs to do is reassert itself as a "normal country" in international circles because it is too often believed not to be. She was referring to the United Nations and to countries with diplomatic ties to Beijing, all of which are forced to recognize the People's Republic of China as the "only legitimate government" of China -- including Taiwan. "We should promote Taiwan as a normal country. There is no need to raise the issue of the Taiwan independence platform again," Chen said. (By Justin Su, Wen Kui-hsiang and S.C. Chang)
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