TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will do its utmost to maintain the cross-strait status quo, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday.
"The DPP's policy is very clear. Cross-strait relations must remain peaceful and stable," Tsai told reporters yesterday at a charity event.
The party will do its utmost to maintain the status quo, as well as to maintain good communication so that there are no misunderstandings while managing the relationship, she said.
Once mutual trust is established, there is the potential for achieving consensus on many issues through positive interaction, she continued.
Tsai was responding to Barbara Schrage, former managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, who has asked the DPP to state its China policy ahead of the 2016 presidential and legislative elections.
At the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, Schrage said Taiwan's voters need to know where the DPP intends to take cross-strait relations if the party takes power next year.
The DPP should acknowledge that it is difficult to take the "1992 Consensus" off the table, Schrage said, referencing an informal agreement that each side of the strait accepts there is only one China but is free to interpret the term as it wishes.
President Ma Ying-jeou's administration has adopted the "1992 Consensus" as the basis for renewed dialogue with China.
Schrage said that instead of avoiding the "1992 Consensus" issue, the DPP should work to address its differences with China.
Tsai responded yesterday saying that the DPP has expressed its stance on the "1992 Consensus" many times.
The DPP does not recognise the "1992 Consensus." During the last presidential election, Tsai advocated an alternative "Taiwan Consensus" that would be reached through a democratic process.
Earlier this week, Schrage said Tsai had been unable to ease Washington's doubts about her China policy during the 2012 presidential election.
"What the administration wanted to hear was what was her specific plan for dealing with the cross-strait issue. And frankly, she was very disappointing in that area," Schrage said.
DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu said yesterday that Schrage's remarks do not represent the official views of the US government.
In a press statement released yesterday, Wu said that Schrage's doubts about the DPP's handling of cross-strait relations were raised in a personal capacity.
Based on his understanding of the US, former officials who retired years ago do not have representative authority, he said.
Wu said the US does not need to use unauthorized channels to express its views, as Washington interacts closely with the DPP via several formal channels.
"Recently there have been quite frequent, close and friendly high-level exchanges on various bilateral and multilateral issues. There is no barrier in communication between the two sides," he said.
Wu said statements by retired US officials are often distorted deliberately by select interests to sway Taiwan's democratic elections. Involvement in elections violates a fundamental tenet of American diplomacy, he said.
"The DPP believes that (affecting elections) is not the goal of the US, and so wants to remind them to be more mindful," Wu said.