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DPP legislators open to Chinese affairs department within party

2012/05/28 17:38:24

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Several legislators of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Monday they would not oppose the new DPP chairman's proposal to reestablish a department of Chinese affairs within the party.

Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who won the DPP chairmanship in a five-way race Sunday, said he plans to reinstate the department.

In the face of a changing China, the DPP should be more flexible, Su said.

He also said he would "not rule out the possibility of visiting China as party chairman once the timing and conditions were right."

The DPP's Department of Chinese Affairs was absorbed into the Department of International Affairs in 2007.

Lin Chia-lung, DPP legislator and a former party secretary general, said the proposal is "feasible," but asked whether the department would be part of the DPP's executive or its policy-making body.

If it is the latter, then the department should be upgraded and given a different name, Lin said.

Another DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai said he was not opposed to the idea of the department, but its function should be clearly defined, in view of the fact that the party already has a think tank that also deals with research on China policy.

Lee Ying-yuan, DPP legislator and former vice secretary-general, said that "it would be good to reestablish such a department."

He noted that the DPP's presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen lost by 800,000 votes in the presidential election in January and that Taipei and New Taipei alone accounted for 500,000 of the losing votes.

"This shows that voters in the urban areas and industrial sector had misgivings about the DPP's ability to handle the China issue," Lee said.

The party needs to "step up exchanges and understanding vis-à-vis China," he said.

Legislator and former DPP Vice Secretary General Tsai Huang-liang said he was "in favor of" Su's approach to reopen the department and to step up exchanges with China so that the cross-strait issue will not be a liability for the party in the 2016 presidential election.

After his election as DPP leader, Su said he was willing to take on board President Ma Ying-jeou's proposal for dialogue between the ruling and the opposition parties as long as it is not for "political grandstanding."

Two other opposition parties -- People First Party (PFP) and New Party -- said Monday they had not yet received President Ma's invitation.

A PFP spokesman said when the party receives the invitation, it will discuss whether its chairman should attend such a meeting.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-min said he "would definitely go if invited."

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Justin Su and Lilian Wu)
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