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DPP presidential hopefuls cautious on China in first TV session

2011/04/09 21:55:13

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) All three candidates in the oppositionDemocratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential primary treadedcautiously on the sensitive issue of Taiwan's relations with China onSaturday, focusing more on domestic issues instead.

Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, party chief Tsai Ing-wen andformer chairman Hsu Hsin-liang went on live TV to present theirplatforms and answer questions in the first of four televisedsessions.

Of the three candidates, the DPP chairwoman was the mostassertive on the issue of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

She said Taiwan's next president, to be elected in 2012, shouldhave a global perspective, be familiar with international affairs andmultilateral relations, lead change, reverse past policies andconcepts and lead the country on the right path.

Tsai put forward three themes for national development --defending Taiwan's sovereignty and national security, revitalizingthe economy and recreating a safe and happy home, and uniting thesociety in the pursuit of justice and harmony.

Taiwan should not sacrifice its own national security for minorbenefits from China, said Tsai. She said that Taiwan should thinkabout and shape its relations with China under an international andregional framework, instead of“spinning in the historical frameworkof the two sides.”

In his presentation, Su, seen as a strong contender for hisparty's nomination, said that he hopes Taiwan would shine as a lightthat would show China the path towards democracy.

Hsu, a former DPP chairman, departed somewhat from the partyline, saying that the "one-China" concept was "not that scary".

Both Taiwan and China are part of the global political andeconomic system, he said. In fact, with no“historical baggage,”theDPP is in a better position than the ruling Kuomintang to develop adiscourse on Taiwan-China relations that would be more reassuring tothe public, he said.

Hsu said that he was concerned with the relations between Taiwanand China out of interest for Taiwan's economy and the well-being ofthe Taiwan people.

The two-hour TV session took the format of a 10-minute openingspeech by each contender, followed by a question and answer sessionand concluding remarks by the candidates.

In his opening presentation, Su stressed the importance of equaldistribution of educational resources among schools to create equallearning environments for children, and re-zoning the land in thecountry to ensure that the distinctive features of each area could bedeveloped.

The former premier said he would rely on his years of experiencein government to reduce the chances of making mistakes on decisionsinvolving major national issues.

In his turn, Hsu touched on an imminent so-called luxury tax,saying the government should levy the tax on non-occupied residencesand high-profit securities transactions and to use that income toincrease unemployment benefits and parenting allowances for thepeople.

The other sessions in the DPP series of discussions will be heldon April 13, 16, and 20.

(By Chen Yi-wei, Emmanuelle Tzeng, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Christie Chen)