1 , 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 34 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK
Meet, not Holler'
says the DPP chief about China
100-Day Itch: Why Chen Shui-bian's honeymoon as president is over,
and what he mu st do to restore credibility
of Compromise: Will Chen break promises?
Business as Usual: Taiwan's
China investments are growing
Inside the Democratic Progressive Party, one of President Chen Shui-bian's
enduring rivals is Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, 54. Both politicians graduated
at the top of their class from National Taiwan University's law school
and founded successful law practices before winning seats on Taipei's
city council. Both also fought for the DPP's nomination for the Taipei
mayoral race in 1994. Chen won that contest and later the mayor's office,
while Hsieh went on to be the mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest
city. In July, he added another powerful post to his portfolio: the DPP's
chairmanship. Recently, Hsieh was asked by officials of Xiamen in China's
Fujian province to visit that city. In return, he invited them to Kaohsiung.
But what would have been an unprecedented cross-strait initiative was
crushed when Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council ruled that Hsieh did not
have the authority to represent the island. DPP insiders say that Chen
nixed the visits because he did not want to be upstaged by his old rival.
In an interview with Senior Correspondent Allen T. Cheng, Hsieh played
down any feud, even defending the president.
How is President Chen doing?
He has been doing an outstanding job. [Ex-president] Lee Teng-hui's "two-states
theory" created unnecessary tension [with China]. After his victory, Chen
has softened Taiwan's stance. Cross-strait relations have improved. The
president is also attacking [corruption] and addressing social welfare
needs. This impresses society.
And his cross-strait initiatives?
His direction is correct. In fact, I believe we can go even faster. Some
people believe President Chen is moving too fast. But the DPP is now the
ruling party we must move forward quickly. There must be more exchanges
at all levels of government and society. There must be more city-to-city
exchanges. We should not always leave the decision-making to top-level
officials. They are too conservative. The Mainland Affairs Council is
still KMT-dominated. They haven't changed.
The DPP has postponed the decision to amend or get rid of the party
plank to seek "Taiwan independence." Why?
This is a non-issue. President Chen already has said that he won't declare
independence or change the name of Taiwan. We as a party resolved that
since Taiwan already is an "independent, sovereign state," we therefore
need not change our constitution or our name, the Republic of China, just
preserve the status quo. The president's policies follow our party's principle.
What about the "one-China" issue?
We don't refer to this because it is a play on words. Our premise is Taiwan
is not part of the People's Republic of China. An independent Republic
of China on Taiwan can discuss anything with the People's Republic of
China, whether a federation or a future "one China." But we cannot go
on the premise that "one China" is the People's Republic of China . .
. If China's system changes, then the views of the people on Taiwan will
change too. Of course we hope for peace. If we have peace, both sides
can earn more money. We all like to earn money.
Do you still hope to go to Xiamen?
I still hope to go. Meeting is better than hollering at each other through
the media. However, as chairman of the ruling party, I can't go against
the government's wish. But I do wish the government would be more open.
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November 30, 2000