DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen’s Comments on Proposed Freeze of Independence Platform

DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen made the following comments during an online Q&A session on Saturday, July 19, responding to the question of a proposed suspension or “freeze” of the Taiwan independence clause in the party’s platform:

Political parties are like living organisms in that they grow and change. Since being passed by the DPP's 1st National Party Congress in 1986, our party platform has undergone four textual changes and five resolutions. Each of these amendments represented an adjustment in response to the evolving situation of the time. But no matter what, "democracy" and "progress" are core values that we have insisted on since our party’s founding, which will absolutely not change. Our position with regard to the country's sovereignty, and that the Taiwan's future will be determined by its people, will also absolutely not change.

The question of whether to "freeze" the independence clause has become an issue in recent days, driven by the idea that the DPP cannot manage cross-Strait relations without abandoning Taiwan independence. In fact, this is a myth. We must examine, who is defining the so-called "Taiwan independence" to which the media refers? Are we not a sovereign and independent country? Isn't strengthening sovereignty and pursuing greater substantive international participation the expectation of the majority of Taiwan's people?

The Taiwan independence clause was the goal that the DPP unveiled during the early days of its formation, as well as the ideal pursued by the first generations of DPP members and the people of Taiwan. As our democracy advanced, we also simultaneously developed a robust Taiwanese consciousness that identifies with Taiwan and holds strong to the values of independence and autonomy, which for the emerging new generations has already become as natural as the air that they breathe. How would it even be possible to "freeze” this reality, this state of affairs?

At present, the 1999 Resolution on Taiwan's Future represents the consensus within the DPP on Taiwan's future and the status of cross-Strait relations; indeed, it has become the consensus of the people of Taiwan. On the basis of this consensus, the DPP hopes that the two sides of the Strait can engage in more stable and higher quality interactions, to increase mutual understanding and build mutual trust. Thus, we will adopt a more confident, proactive, and pragmatic attitude in our approach, while also demonstrating our stability and consistency. But we will continue to insist that no cross-Strait contact may harm Taiwan's democracy, threaten our national sovereignty, or undermine the ability of the people of Taiwan to carry out their will as the master of their own house. This principle and stance is one that will never change.