Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-28 04:38 PM
The party’s legislative chief whip, Ker Chien-ming, on Thursday suggested the 1991 clause, which calls for a new constitution and a Republic of Taiwan, could be frozen as a gesture of goodwill toward China, which has repeatedly refused to meet DPP leaders.
Reactions to his proposal have been mixed, with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office welcoming it but many senior party leaders describing it as unnecessary or even negative.
The opposition leader emphasized that the suggestion was only Ker’s personal opinion, which had not received majority support within the party and did not benefit from an overall consensus. Freezing or not freezing the clause was not an issue, he repeatedly emphasized.
Taiwan was already a sovereign and independent nation, with any change in that status needing the approval of its 23 million citizens, the opposition leader said.
In 1999, the DPP passed the Resolution on Taiwan’s Future, which recognizes Taiwan as a state which is already sovereign and independent, with referendums as the only means allowed to change that status.
The content of that resolution was the subject of Taiwan’s widest consensus, so the DPP would never change it, Su said.
One of Taiwan’s basic values was the freedom of expression, which allowed the DPP to listen to a wide variety of opinions, including Ker’s, Su explained.
The opposition party’s Chinese Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a key meeting about the party’s China policies on January 9.
Wellington Koo, a DPP attorney vying for the party’s nomination for the Taipei City mayoral election, said the Resolution on Taiwan’s Future was the party’s most basic China document, so since it had superseded the Taiwan Independence clause there was no reason to freeze the latter. The resolution could form the basis of contacts with China, which could show it no longer feared a return to power by the DPP, Koo reportedly said.
Top academic and former Vice Premier Wu Jung-i described the clause as a basic part of the DPP’s ideology. Any freeze or departure from the clause would be rejected by party supporters, Wu warned. He also cautioned party leaders that the proper procedure should be followed if any changes were considered. It was not necessary for the DPP to drop the clause before improving relations with Beijing, he said.
Former Defense Minister Michael Tsai expressed disappointment with Ker’s views, adding the people of Taiwan should keep up their struggle against Chinese propaganda. The country’s fate should not be decided by China, the United States and the Kuomintang, he said.