PFP’s James Soong objects to quick By Hsieh Kuo-lien

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

Opposition People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong yesterday said he objected to the right-wing New Party (NP)’s support for immediate reunification with mainland China. The already strained PFP-NP relations went sour Tuesday when a NP leader Hsieh Chi-ta blamed PFP leaders for breaking up the opposition camp’s supporters. Hsieh harshly criticized PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chau-hsiung after Chang used the new term “pro-Soong alliance” rather than “opposition group” to describe Taiwan’s opposition forces. Describing the creation of the term as Soong’s explicit attempt to make himself a “god,” Hsieh accused Soong of being “arrogant” and hoped that Soong would not promote “personal worship”. Soong yesterday focused the two parties’ differences on their beliefs concerning Taiwan’s relations with mainland China. “I do not agree with the New Party leader Hsieh Chi-ta’s viewpoints on the cross-strait relations,” Soong said. “The conditions for immediate reunification do not even exist.” “Hsieh repeatedly said that our cross-strait policies are tenuous, but I have to say that they represent the main stream of citizens’s opinions. Our views are different from hers.”

Soong told reporters that the PFP worked out its cross-strait policies under the concept of “one China with individual interpretations.” Those who support the idea of “one China with individual interpretation” believe that there is only one China in the world, but they do not clarify whether the China is the Republic of China, Taiwan, or the People’s Republic of China, in an effort to avoid fierce debate on the issue. Soong, who hauled more than four million votes in the 2000 presidential election, said he greatly appreciated Hsieh’s assistance in last year’s race, but we would not support the NP’s cross-strait policies. Meanwhile, Soong declined to answer whether his deputy Chang had discussed the term pro-Soong alliance with him before using it, but he stressed that he has neither tried to make himself a “god” or promote “personal worship”. In response to Soong’s criticism, the NP spokesman Kao Hsin-wu later said at a news conference that Soong has been trying to obscure rather than resolve the differences between the two parties. Kao told reporters that Soong had failed to clearly explain the issue of a pro-Soong alliance. He stressed that the NP has never claimed that Taiwan should immediately reunite with the mainland. Meanwhile, lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung of ruling Democratic Progressive Party applauded Soong for his cross-strait policy. Shen said a political party like the PFP has to stand in the middle between the pro-reunification and pro-Taiwan independence positions. He said the NP, a relatively small party in Taiwan, has to gravitate to one of the poles to prevent itself from disappearing from the political arena. He says he is unaware whether Soong was trying to raise more PFP votes for the election by trying to separate the PFP from the NP. “But I applaud Soong’s viewpoints on cross-strait relations, as long as he insists that Taiwan is a sovereignty state and that the two sides should treat each other equally.”