Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party has decided to bring back a China affairs department in an attempt to improve ties with the mainland. 'The world is changing; China is changing and the DPP should not hold the view there is no need to change in the face of changing times,' said DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang, referring to his decision to reopen the department to deal with the mainland. The DPP shut it down in 2007 when then chairman Yu Shyi-kun merged the department with the international affairs department to highlight a proposal by then president Chen Shui-bian, who viewed Taiwan and the mainland as a country on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Su (pictured), elected DPP chairman in May after his predecessor Tsai Ing-wen resigned to take responsibility for her defeat in the presidential election earlier this year, has vowed to improve ties with the mainland. Considered a moderate compared with other pro-independence leaders, Su made reopening the department one of his campaign promises. At a meeting yesterday of the decision-making central standing committee, Su's proposal to reopen the department was supported by other members. Calling the decision a DPP goodwill gesture towards the mainland, Su said the party hoped to deal with the mainland in a confident and active manner. He said that in the future, the department would be responsible for observing and understanding the mainland in a comprehensive fashion. 'We will also allow China to get a better understanding of the DPP,' he said. 'China is like an elephant, and we are just by its side; once the elephant goes crazy, regardless of whether it is friendly or hostile, if it steps on us, we don't stand a chance.' Reintroducing the department would allow the DPP to 'get more acquainted with it, and vice versa'. The DPP will also set up a China affairs commission, which will be responsible for discussing and formulating major cross-strait policies. Su said academics, party stalwarts, public opinion leaders, and social and public affairs experts would be invited to join the discussions. The DPP's sometimes hostile cross-strait policy has been cited for its defeat in the presidential election in March. Many voters, fearing cross-strait instability, supported Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang, whose policy of engaging the mainland since his first term as president in 2008 has been seen as the major reason for improved ties with Beijing.