DPP still split over
Ker¡¦s independence clause plan
HOT TOPIC: DPP whip Ker¡¦s suggestion that the
party suspend its independence clause has sparked furious debate as the DPP
struggles to form a consensus on its China policy
By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming¡¦s (¬_«Ø»Ê) proposal
to facilitate cross-strait dialogue by freezing the party¡¦s so-called ¡§Taiwan
independence clause¡¨ was again the subject of debate among academics and party
members yesterday, with former DPP lawmaker Julian Kuo (³¢¥¿«G) and National
Chengchi University professor Tung Cheng-yuan (µ£®¶·½) supporting the initiative.
Most DPP members, including Chairman Su Tseng-chang (Ä¬s©÷), oppose the proposal,
which was submitted by Ker at a meeting to discuss the party¡¦s China policy on
Thursday, saying that it betrays the party¡¦s founding spirit.
DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (¬q©y±d) voiced his opposition to the plan on Facebook,
saying that it ¡§reflected the DPP¡¦s dilemma over safeguarding Taiwan¡¦s
sovereignty, while fostering DPP-Chinese Communist Party dialogue, as well as
its predicament of determining what its position is amid increasing bilateral
¡§The DPP wants better relations with Beijing, but has been hawkish on almost
every cross-strait issue in the legislature,¡¨ Tuan said.
Kuo disagreed, writing in a post on Facebook and in a column on news site
formosa.com that freezing the clause would help stabilize cross-strait ties
because, by leaving certain options open, it ¡§hints that the DPP could change
the ¡¥status quo¡¦ by staging a referendum on the nation¡¦s name if it returns to
Kuo urged party members to look at the proposal as a temporary freeze aimed
¡§only at trying to rule out that establishing a new country is the only option
[for the DPP],¡¨ rather than as a call to abolish the clause.
Citing anonymous sources, Kuo said the initiative represented more than just
Ker¡¦s ¡§personal opinion¡¨ because the caucus whip had held private discussions
with high-ranking party officials before he presented it on Thursday.
The proposal was likely tabled as a response to Beijing¡¦s opposition to the
¡§constitutionalism consensus,¡¨ which is tipped to become the DPP¡¦s foundation
for cross-strait engagement pending a series of meetings to decide the issue,
Tung praised Ker¡¦s initiative as ¡§the first step toward promoting cross-strait
reconciliation¡¨ as the independence charter, which aims to establish the
Republic of Taiwan (ROT), is ¡§unfit for the current political situation and does
not serve the nation¡¦s interests.¡¨
The professor, who served as Mainland Affairs Council deputy vice chairman
during the former DPP administration, said that the ¡§democratic Republic of
China system,¡¨ which functions like all the other democracies, is the consensus
¡§In other words, the legitimacy of the Republic of China has been widely
accepted,¡¨ he added.
The clause could mislead the public into thinking that the DPP would draft a new
Constitution and push for the establishment of the ROT if it returns to power,
Tung said, adding that the party neither has the desire nor the capability to
establish the independent republic.
DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chi-kune (¬x´¼©[) said that the party
has fallen into a trap, because dialogue with the Chinese Communist Party will
not happen unless Beijing accepts the DPP¡¦s ideology and political assertions.
However, the essential issue should be how the DPP can best approach engagement
with the Chinese party, Hung said.
¡§There are other solutions to this dilemma. Safeguarding Taiwan¡¦s sovereignty
and ensuring cross-strait peace should not be on the different ends of the
spectrum in a zero-sum game,¡¨ he said.
The necessity of freezing the clause is debatable, Hung said.
¡§If more than 70 percent of respondents prefer eventually having an independent
Taiwan [as seen in a recent poll], then why is Taiwan independence a box office
bomb?¡¨ he added.