By Lauly Li, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou to show “sincerity” in discussing whether or not to hold a national affairs conference. Tsai’s most recent comments came after Tsai held another press conference on Friday in which she urged Ma to hold a national affairs conference to discuss several important social and political issues, including military reform following the death of an Army corporal, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, and the establishing of a supervisory mechanism for negotiations between Taiwan and China. Tsai on Sunday told the press that she agrees with the DPP’s position that if Ma really wants to talk with opposition leaders, Ma should halt the construction immediately to show his “sincerity.” This echoes earlier comments on Nuke 4 from DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who had urged Ma to halt the construction of Nuke 4 as a prerequisite to holding a national affairs conference. Tsai, however, did not make reference to Su’s comments in her Friday press conference. In response to Tsai’s Sunday proposal, Ma was quoted by CNA as saying that the issue of Nuke 4 should not be a prerequisite for a cross-party national affairs conference.

Ma said arranging a meeting for ruling and opposition leaders will be difficult if everyone demands prerequisites. Ma added that he thinks a national affairs conference has the potential to cover “everything” should no one come to it with presumptions. Tsai said yesterday that many people are mulling the value of holding a national affairs conference as people do not trust Ma and cannot “feel” the sincerity of his willingness to talk with opposition leaders. The government should let the people know its position on major social and political issues, Tsai said, noting that since society has reached a consensus on the issue of the nuclear power plant’s construction, Ma should stop the construction as a way of showing his “sincerity,” ensuring people will be more supportive toward holding a national affairs conference. Tsai’s Friday press conference brought with it questions about internal DPP dynamics. Tsai held her Friday press conference with 15 DPP legislators and in it did not refer to Su’s earlier comments on Nuke 4 and a national affairs conference. Given this, DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) on Friday night said she had been asked by DPP supporters if the party chairman has been replaced. She also said she has faced questions about whether the party has become polarized.

In response to the speculation surrounding Tsai and Su, Tsai said on Sunday that a national affairs conference is what the DPP has always supported, adding that she had reported to the DPP before she held the press conference on Friday. Tsai said that should the party ask it, she is willing to further communicate and explain her position.

Tsai said the country is facing a critical moment, and the people are expecting politicians to work together and solve the problems. She said the last thing the country needs right now is to “interpret” everything politically.