DPP's Frank Hsieh Visits China: Time to Break the Ice
Friday October 05, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.
In a controversial move, Frank Hsieh of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has set out on a visit to China. Hsieh who has been a former premier and was the DPP candidate for president in 2008,is the highest ranking DPP member to visit the People's Republic of China(PRC).
Various members and organizations of the DPP have weighed in both for and against the trip. Some said the timing was not right; others said that it was OK but there should have been a more formal invitation from the PRC, and others wished him well on the trip.
Hsieh's first stop was in Xiamen, but the reason given for his trip is to attend an international bartending exhibition in Beijing--Hsieh has in the past supported Taiwan's bartending association and visited other locations in the past on their behalf. He will also have a closed-door meeting with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Where do I stand on this visit? I support it. There may be some risks as Hsieh himself has expressed an awareness of them, but the benefits outweigh that in my mind.
First it is time for the DPP to break the ice in visiting China; since Hsieh has held senior positions in the DPP and had been its presidential candidate in the past, this will make it far easier for most others to go there without question. Second by his visit, he can let the leaders of the PRC have an up close look at DPP members and dispel some of the bete noire notions they may have of the DPP. Third, I have confidence in Hsieh that he would not allow his visit to be exploited or misinterpreted in any way. Finally, the Taiwan public needs to be able to see that DPP members can communicate with China--something that some may have wondered about in the past.