TAIPEI--The leadership of Taiwan’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is resisting calls to change its stance toward China, despite criticism that its insistence on Taiwan’s independence may have lost it the presidential election in January.
At a meeting on Feb. 15 of the party’s Central Standing Committee, the leadership maintained the line that poor campaigning had failed to get across the party’s line on the China issue to Taiwanese voters.
"Our party was leading the rival Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) in public support at one point," DPP spokesman Lin You-chang said following the meeting. "The DPP was going along the right path."
However, he conceded that the Kuomintang and re-elected President Ma Ying-jeou had succeeded in using the China issue to its advantage.
"The Kuomintang instilled the impression in the public's mind that the DPP was opposing cross-Strait economic exchanges," Lin said.
The DPP’s election platform was supportive of stronger economic ties with China, but insisted on Taiwan’s status as an independent nation separate from China. That invited Kuomintang claims that the DPP would endanger Taiwan's relations with China. China does not accept Taiwanese independence and insists on eventual unification.
Some DPP members are calling for a review of the policy toward China. Former party chairman Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, who ran in the presidential election four years ago, called for a more moderate stance, although he said there was no need to change the basic principle that Taiwan is an independent country.
Across the Taiwan strait, Fan Liqing, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China, said on Feb. 15: "The independent Taiwan argument, in any form, fails to meet the true interests of our compatriots in Taiwan.”
A Kuomintang official said: "The DPP will lose again next time unless it modifies its policy toward China.”
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