Former chairman of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Frank Hsieh, has announced that he will visit mainland China on Thursday. Hsieh served as premier from February 2005 to January 2006 and will become the most senior member of the previous DPP administration to visit China.
The DPP, which favours de jure Taiwanese independence rather than the One Country, Two Systems approach, has long been seen as anti-China, but has softened its stance following the party’s defeat in the 2012 presidential election.
Hsieh, who has been invited to China by the International Bartenders Association, emphasised the need for dialogue between DPP politicians and their mainland counterparts:
As a political party, we have the obligation to represent Taiwan and speak up for our rights. We also have the obligation to protect our Taiwanese businessmen there. If the ruling Kuomintang joining hands with the Communist Party of China to deal with the DPP becomes a norm, I’ll be extremely worried that talk of our return to power will be nothing more than a legend.
Wang said before attending a forum on China’s human rights issues in Taipei that he has always supported the idea of DPP officials visiting China, but he called on the party to get a better understanding of civil society there.