Independence cannot be decided by Taiwanese alone: DPP heavyweight

07/04/2021 04:02 PM
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Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Chiou I-jen. CNA file photo
Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Chiou I-jen. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 4 (CNA) Taiwan has to face the reality that the decision on whether to officially declare independence cannot be made by Taiwanese alone given the possible reaction of China and United States opposition, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said Sunday.

Speaking during a radio show hosted by former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Chiou, a former National Security Council chief and vice premier under Chen, said it is a "cruel reality" that the decision is not one Taiwanese can make by themselves because "we have to consider the current international situation, as well as China's possible reaction."

However, Chou also said the ultimate policy goal for the DPP is to push for Taiwan independence and the goal is clearly stated in the party charter, adding that the Taiwan independence clause should not be amended lightly as pursuing independence is the party's ultimate ideal and dream.

Nevertheless, Chiou stressed that "now is not an appropriate time" to declare Taiwan independence.

"In reality, we have not yet reached a consensus (on the issue) within the country and if we declare independence now, it would only raise tensions," he said.

He went on to say that declaring independence at the current time would not only lead to a possible Chinese military invasion but also not be supported by the U.S.

Chiou said that as far as he is aware the U.S. opposes Taiwan independence.

He made the comments when asked by Chen to elaborate on a remark he made in 2020 during an online seminar with American scholars during which he said no "realistic politician" in Taiwan would declare independence and "Taiwanese people are realistic and won't elect crazy people (as their presidents)."

Chiou also said during the seminar organized by Georgetown University and held on Oct. 12, 2020 that not even Chen, who is widely regarded as the most pro-independence president in Taiwan's history, sought to declare Taiwan independence during his two terms in office from 2000-2008.

Chen said that he proposed the idea of "one country on each side" during his presidency to clearly distinguish the two sides of the Taiwan Strait as different countries.

"Over all, we took two steps forward (toward Taiwan independence) and one step back (due to lack of international support)," Chen said.

The former leader said Taiwan's future should be decided by the people of Taiwan, adding that he is not sure when the ultimate goal can be reached, but emphasized now is not the time to give up.

Chiou is currently chairman of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association in charge of bilateral exchanges in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

Meanwhile, Chen was released from prison on medical parole on Jan. 6, 2015, after being sentenced to 20 years for money laundering and bribery. He began to host his radio show on the Kaohsiung-based station, Smile Taiwan, this January.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)

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