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DPP lawmaker defends proposal to free independence platform
Central News Agency
2013-12-27 10:56 PM
Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Ker Chien-ming said Friday that what drove him to suggest freezing the party's platform on Taiwan independence is his wish for the party to win the 2016 presidential election. "If (the DPP) wants to be in power, its cross-strait policy must undergo an adjustment and have different aspects," said the veteran lawmaker, who also serves as a legislative caucus whip. Taking the step is aimed at removing Taiwanese people's long-term stereotype of the DPP, and is in accordance with Taiwan's mainstream public opinion, Ker added. The DPP, which was the ruling party from 2000-2008, must be "progressive, self-confident and pragmatic" in handling cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, he said while explaining the reason he raised the explosive idea at a meeting he presided over a day earlier. During the meeting, Ker said the party's pro-independence platform has become a barrier to interacting with China. The party's loss in the 2012 presidential election has been widely attributed to its rigid cross-strait policy, which is bound by its pro-independence stance. The Taiwan independence platform, which is in fact a 1991 amendment to the document, advocates establishing a new "Republic of Taiwan" to replace the Republic of China, Taiwan's official title, and calls for a new constitution. Ker's proposal, however, was dismissed by DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang earlier Friday. Su said that putting the platform aside is "a non-issue" because "Taiwan is already an independent country," as proven by several rounds of constitutional reforms and direct presidential and legislative elections. Meanwhile, Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, called Ker's proposal Friday a "positive sign" when asked to comment on the issue. Asked about the response from Beijing, Ker said "that's their business. I have no comment." As for Su's rejection of Ker's suggestion, Ker said: "the chairman had once said things like 'We want to develop Taiwan; we are done with Taiwan independence.'" Ker added that former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen had also said that peace must be maintained between the two sides and both should work together to promote development. "Our thoughts and ideas are pretty much identical," Ker said. Ker's idea has drawn heated debate within the DPP, but failed to win much support although some DPP lawmakers, including Legislator Chao Tien-lin, thought the issue should be brought up for discussion. Others said that since the independence platform has been superseded by the Resolution on Taiwan's Future, which the party adopted in 1999, there is no need to do anything to the platform. Instead of calling for a new Republic of Taiwan, the resolution says Taiwan is already a sovereign independent country and any changes to the status quo should be decided by the 23 million people living in Taiwan through a referendum. It does not mention the need for a new constitution. (By Wen Kui-hsiang, Justin Su and Elizabeth Hsu)
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