If elected, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairwoman and presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen will not abrogate the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), but would, in handling subsequent negotiations, ensure the process is transparent and subject to legislative oversight so that any agreement would not have to undergo a referendum. That’s what she told the BBC’s Chinese service director Li Wen in an interview on Thursday. The two major opposition parties, the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) originally advocated a referendum on ECFA.
Obviously, if Tsai should inherit president Ma Ying-jeou’s desk in May next year – the elections are scheduled in January -, there will be no reset button, and to act as if there was one would suggest that her presidential bid wasn’t serious. It seems that she is preparing for the details of the job as president, and not merely focusing on getting elected.
Her message to China seems to suggest that, too.
I think better communication will help. Essentially, they don’t know us, because we are not like the KMT. They had a history in the past, either as rivals – now they seem to be less of rivals to the KMT -, and they had this complicated relationship in the past, let me say it that way. And they don’t know us. We are a party that is only twenty-five years old, so it would be good if we had good communications between the two sides, so that they will know us better, and we’d have the opportunity to tell them what we are up to. We do have a think tank here in Taipei, and we welcome delegations, groups from China to visit us, we give them briefings they would like to have, we answer questions they raise, and I thought that was a good exchange.
If there was an invitation to China, it would come with conditions, Tsai anticipated, in reply to Li Wen’s question if she would accept such an invitiation.
And heaving a sigh that was either tactical, or that genuinely reflected her skepticism about Beijing’s attitude, she added:
I just wish that they can be reasonable.
This was apparently a referral to conditions, not to the CCP leadership itself.
Visits by leaders weren’t the only way to improve communications, she added. Experts, civil society members or party workers could have exchanges anyway.