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DPP Party Convention

DPP adopts Resolution on Taiwan's Future

Kaohsiung, 8 May 1999

Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party held an important Party Congress on May 7-8, 1999 in the southern port-city of Kaohsiung.

The DPP Party convention overwhelmingly passed a Resolution on Taiwan's Future , by a vote of 233 to 21. Read the full text of the resolution.

The resolution emphasizes that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country, and that any change in its status must be decided by the people on the island by means of a referendum.

It rejects the PRC's claims to the island, and its "One China" and "One Country, Two Systems" as fundamentally inappropriate for Taiwan.

It urges the Kuomintang authorities to renounce the outdated "One China" position, in order to avoid international confusion.

It urges a bipartisan consensus between the ruling Kuomintang and the democratic opposition on foreign policy, "to face China's aggression and ambition."

And finally, it urges a comprehensive dialogue with China, " seek mutual understanding and economic cooperation" in order to " a framework for long-term stability and peace."

In an explanation following the seven points of the main proclamation, the DPP Congress gives a further elaboration of its position, emphasizing that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country.

The explanation contains a controversial clause, stating that Taiwan, although named the Republic of China under its current Constitution, is not subject to the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China." While the DPP supporters wholeheartedly agree with the second part of this clause, the first part became a topic of hot debate, because some read in it an acceptance of the name "Republic of China", which is anathema to many supporters of the DPP, and a throwback to the decades of KMT repression and Martial Law.

Another action was to pave the way for former Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian to run in the 2000 presidential elections by approving changes to DPP-party rules which would have prevented him from taking part in polls.

"The DPP has to get ready for 2000," DPP secretary-general Yu Hsi-kun told reporters at the end of a two-day party congress. He praised the new rules, which require endorsement of 161 out of the 200-member electoral college. "By the time of the party congress, there was a consensus that the charismatic Chen is just the right one presidential candidate for the DPP," DPP legislator Yen Chin-fu said. Mr. Chen is expected to be nominated by July.

The endorsement of Mr. Chen Shui-bian by the Party Congress ends a bitter intra-party struggle with former DPP-chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang, who also wanted to be nominated. Mr. Hsu left the Party on Friday, May 7th.

Political analysts in Taiwan expect Vice President Lien Chan, aided by the patronage of President Lee Teng-hui, to be nominated by the ruling Kuomintang for next year's race.

Former Taiwan provincial governor James Soong, once a left-hand man of Lee, is expected to run in the elections as an independent candidate. His ties with President Lee turned sour when the authorities decided to downsize the anachronistic "provincial government" last year.