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Koo Kwan-min: Making nice with Zhang Zhijun is not enough
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-30 06:26 PM
Koo Kuan-min, founder of the Taiwan Brain Trust, warned the DPP not to be too complacent following the visit of Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) director Zhang Zhijun a few days ago. Koo noted that even though Zhang was willing to meet Chen Chu, the DPP mayor of Kaohsiung, and took the trouble to meet a good cross-section of Taiwan’s society during his brief stay on the island, it is important to keep in mind that it was the TAO which recently said the future of Taiwan should be determined by the 1.3 billion people of China. Koo emphasized that such a statement is totally politically incorrect and unacceptable to the people of Taiwan, and the party must not lose sight of that fact in rushing to ‘make nice’ with Zhang.

Zhang was in Taiwan for four days and three nights, a visit that triggered criticism and controversy over the DPP’s willingness to accommodate Zhang for a part of his trip. Student leaders Wei Yang and Lin Fei-fan have been sharply critical of the DPP's attitude. At the same time, notes Taiwan Brain Trust CEO Liu Shih-chung, the reaction from Washington has been that the DPP’s stance toward Zhang was "more positive" and more “self-assured,” leaving the US feeling somewhat less concerned. At the same time, however, Liu said the DPP seems to have been overly polite, and even if the US feels relieved in the short term following Zhang’s visit, many more and bigger challenges lie ahead in both the domestic and international arenas for Taiwan.

Koo recalled that when Sun Yafu, the Vice chairman of ARATS, visited Taiwan Brain Trust recently , he told Sun," If China's basic attitude does not change, then having ten people like Zhang Zhijun visit will do no good.”

"But did the DPP say anything like that to Zhang? No. Did the DPP issue a formal position [regarding Zhang’s visit]? No." Thus Koo believes the students got it right when they showed up and protested. "The students came out and made themselves heard,” he said. “Opposition is normal."

Koo noted that when Zhang Zhijun visits Taiwan, he is a guest and should be treated as such, but it is essential to let him know that the party and the people are 100% opposed to statements he and his office have made in the past. This is the attitude the DPP should adopt, said Koo. The leaders of the DPP must drive public opinion and support it, and do more than just ‘make nice’ when officials from the other side of the strait come calling.

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