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DPP's contribution to cross-strait ties often overlooked: Tsai

2017/10/26 21:04:34

Taipei, Oct. 26 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday that her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has long maintained a people-centered policy on relations with China, with the aim of bringing benefits to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but that record is often overlooked.

As far back as 1987, the DPP, a newly formed party with limited power, came out in strong support of a group of veterans who were protesting against the Taiwan government's ban on contact of any kind with China, Tsai said.

At the time, the DPP's Central Standing Committee adopted a resolution, calling for the lifting of the ban on visits to China and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, she said at a forum hosted by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to mark the 30th anniversary of the removal of the restrictions.

Tsai said Taiwan was under martial law back then and the Kuomintang regime had instituted a policy of "no contact, no compromise, and no negotiation," which prompted the protesting veterans to take to the streets in white shirts that read "We Miss Home."

The DPP's support of the call to lift the restrictions was its first contribution to the normalization of cross-strait relations and a manifestation of its "people-centered" core value on cross-strait policy, a fact that is often overlooked, Tsai said.

Recounting major events that marked progress in cross-strait relations over the past 30 years, Tsai said greater stability can only be achieved now if the ruling parties on both sides interact with each other to seek better understanding, build mutual trust and deal with the various cross-strait issues.

With China entering a new era after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the ruling party on each side of the strait should toss away the historical baggage and begin dialogue to seek a breakthrough in cross-strait relations, Tsai said.

The two sides should bring an end to hostilities and the fear of war and work toward the sustainable wellbeing of their people, Tsai said.

Since Tsai took office in May last year, Beijing has suspended official communications with Taiwan at almost all levels, mainly because of Tsai's reluctance to accept China's prerequisites for any official exchanges.

"Only by recognizing the historical facts of the '1992 Consensus,' that both sides belong to 'one China,' can the two sides across the Strait start to engage in dialogue," Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said at the recent CPC congress.

During a discussion session at the MAC forum, Chao Chun-shan (趙春山), a professor of China Studies at Tamkang University and an advisor to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on cross-strait issues, said he agreed with Tsai that the DPP had contributed to the advancement of cross-strait ties over the past 30 years.

However, Tsai's reluctance to mention "one China" in her narrative remains an obstacle to the resumption of dialogue with China, Chao said.

Tsai has repeatedly stated that her administration will conduct cross-strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, he noted.

"At the end of that statement, however, Tsai should add, 'therefore, both sides belong to one China, which is the 'Republic of China'," Chao said.

Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), a former MAC vice chairman and professor at National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of National Development, disagreed with that view, saying that any mention of "one China" by the Taiwan side could easily end up being interpreted as Taiwan consenting to being part of the People's Republic of China.

At the forum, the MAC also released a video in commemoration of the Nov 2, 1987 lifting of the restrictions on visits to China by veterans, who had fled to Taiwan with the Kuomintang army in 1949.

The video highlights the benefits of normal cross-strait exchanges and is part of the MAC's efforts to advocate for such exchanges without political interference.

One of the stories featured in the video is that of a Chinese woman who brought her baby to Taiwan for reconstruction of a cleft lip.

The video will be broadcast on National Geographic channels in 41 countries in Asia, according to MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月).

She said the people on both side of the straits would be able to "make more dreams come true" if they work together to seek opportunities in a changing environment.

(Video courtesy of MAC)

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)