DPP China Affairs Committee Fourth Plenary Meeting Statement

In the fourth plenary meeting of the Democratic Progressive Party China Affairs Committee held today, November 14, Assistant Professor York Chen, convener of the Defense Policy Advisory Committee, presented a report on “National Security Implications of Cross-Strait Interaction: Consensus and Controversy.” Subsequently, Joseph Wu, Executive Director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee, briefed the committee with an update on the drafting process of the China policy review report. Committee members engaged in vigorous debate on these two topics, exchanging views on a range of issues from the consensus on constitutionalism to the strategy for cross-Strait inter-city exchange.
According to committee spokesman Wen-tsang Cheng, Chairman Su made the following remarks at the meeting:

"Cross-Strait relations have seen many changes in this past period: several agreements have been signed, and the economic relationship has grown closer by the day. As the biggest opposition party in Taiwan, the DPP must arrive at a new appreciation of regional dynamics and cross-Strait relations, and fulfill our responsibility toward Taiwan’s future by articulating our position. The purpose of forming the China Affairs Committee was to undertake a deep and comprehensive discussion of China policy, and to address the issue head on. This meeting had no set conclusion at its beginning, and we hope that before the next meeting on Jan. 9, 2014, all committee members can communicate as much as possible or assign their aides to participate in related discussions, in a bid to seek a more fruitful and positive result for the DPP’s China policy.”

Director Honigmann Hong of DPP’s China Affairs Department said that the preliminary draft of the final report was a summary based on the past three plenary meetings and seven expanded meetings on China policy that have been held so far. The contents of the current draft includes a preface, followed by separate chapters on basic positions and core values; domestic politics on both sides; Taiwan’s economic strategy, civil society; foreign policy; and national security. Overall, the seven expanded meetings that have taken place to date represent the most comprehensive effort to examine the question of cross-Strait relations in Taiwan’s history, encompassing 520 attendees, 48 expert briefings, 13 written opinions, and 188 speakers.

Spokesman Wen-tsang Cheng went on to recount the observation from Professor York Chen’s report, “National Security Implications of Cross-Strait Interaction: Consensus and Controversy,” that as the cross-Strait military situation becomes increasingly imbalanced, Taiwan’s national security already faces a serious challenge. Taiwan must strengthen its defense while building a consensus on national security, as the two sides continue to interact.

On the basis of existing consensus on the relevant questions, the fundamental cross-Strait defense balance, the content of discussions from the seventh expanded meeting of the China Affairs Committee, and related policy statements previously issued by the DPP, Dr. Chen recommended four basic policy propositions as follows:

  1. Taiwan must establish a peaceful relationship with China conducive to mutual prosperity and co-existence. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait bear the international responsibility for maintaining the peaceful status quo. China’s peaceful rise is contingent upon its sincere pursuit of safeguarding peaceful coexistence over the Taiwan Strait.
  2. Taiwan’s national security strategy is inextricably linked with the values of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Taiwan should view the China issue through a global and a regional perspective, meaning that there must be a balance between cross-Strait relations and national defense.
  3. In foreign policy, the democratic alliance anchored by the United States and Japan is clearly in the process of expansion and deepening, thus increasing Taiwan’s geostrategic relevance. On Oct. 3, 2013, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kin Moy stated that Taiwan can play the role of a regional leader in transnational issues. Taiwan serves as a model for emerging democracies, and should therefore bear corresponding responsibility by proactively participating in related international activities. China should not suppress Taiwan’s efforts to contribute to the international community. Taiwan’s foreign relations should follow the principle of “values diplomacy,” combining the universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights with best practices from Taiwan’s experience. Working through diverse and flexible channels of soft power, such as international organizations and inter-city exchanges, to strengthen ties and expand relations, Taiwan’s sustained existence can be turned into a positive asset to the Chinese people and the international system.
  4. In the quest for a peaceful and secure environment, Taiwan will pursue any path that can help to maintain regional stability—including security cooperation within a democratic alliance or confidence building measures—in order to reduce any miscalculation that could lead to military aggression. Taiwan must take serious stock of its own self-defense resolve and capability. Taiwan has no intention of engaging in an arms race with China, but deterrence of Chinese military aggression is a precondition for cross-Strait stability, peaceful coexistence, and prosperity. Taiwan’s defense budget must be raised significantly in order to rebuild the confidence of our people, our armed forces, and our international friends.