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Ex-DPP leader presents “Greater One China”
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-27 03:13 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Shih Ming-teh on Tuesday launched what he described as the “Greater One China” framework to bring Taiwan and China closer together.

Both countries should form one "incomplete" international legal entity which should solve affairs of mutual concern by consensus during a transitional period, Shih said.

The new concept surprised because it was presented jointly by former officials from both the DPP and the Kuomintang camp. In addition to Shih, support also came from former National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi and former Straits Exchange Foundation Secretary-General Chiao Jen-ho, both known as KMT supporters of closer ties with Beijing. On the DPP side, support came from SEF ex-Chairman Hung Chi-chang and former Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tung. Tamkang University China specialist Chang Wu-Ueh was the most prominent academic backing the idea.

Shih said the five principles of his “Greater One China” framework had to be taken together and could not be divided as if they were different parts of a menu.

The first principle was respect for the existing situation, which could not be changed unilaterally.

The existing situation amounted to the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China having been separate since 1949 and having evolved from being governments at war to government ruling separately.

The third principle was that the term “One China” had been narrowed down by some people to signify the PRC, which meant it had become less and less acceptable to the people of Taiwan, according to Shih.

Above the existing ROC and PRC, the incomplete international entity should be set up as a transitional phase in cross-strait relations, the former opposition leader said.

The fifth and final principle was that under the new “Greater One China” framework, both sides should work to remove hostility and increase harmony by promising not to use military force, Shih said. Both sides should have the right to join the United Nations and other international organizations while opening and maintaining official diplomatic relations with other countries, he added, also advocating a ban on each side concluding military agreements directed against the other.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said the main opposition party respected the existence of various voices in society, but the most basic consensus was that Taiwan’s future should be determined by its 23 million citizens.

There was still no consensus in Taiwan on the China issue, which should be reached by a public and democratic procedure, said Hung Yao-fu, a spokesman for newly elected DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. Many people had made proposals similar to Shih’s before, Hung said, which showed the public in Taiwan had not reached a consensus yet.

The Taiwanese people would not be able to accept the “Greater One China” proposal, DPP lawmakers said. Taiwan was a sovereign and independent nation, and no single individual could just change that on his own, DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei said.

Her colleague Lawrence Kao said the idea of an incomplete international entity was creative and unprecedented, but it remained to be seen if it could be recognized by international law.

The use of the term “One China” would still raise serious doubts, while more progress in cross-straits relations could only occur if Beijing abandoned its threats of force against Taiwan, said DPP lawmaker Lee Ying-yuan.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union condemned the “Greater One China” concept as a play of words which failed to recognize the existing reality that Taiwan and China were two completely different political entities with sharply diverging values and political systems. If Taiwan came out with the claim it belonged to a “Greater One China” itself before Beijing had renounced the use of force, it would amount to lowering its own level of self-defense, according to the TSU.

The KMT welcomed Shih’s ideas, because even if it did not correspond to the ruling party’s official policies, any attempt at dialogue was valuable, a spokesman said.

The Presidential Office said the official China policy remained the same, namely maintain the existing situation under the Constitution of the Republic of China of “no unification, no independence, no military force” and promote peaceful cross-straits development on the basis of the “1992 Consensus” of “One China, Each Its Own Interpretation.”

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