The presidential candidate of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said he will focus on a near-term agenda rather than promote controversial ideological issues such as a bid for formal independence. Frank Hsieh told the Financial Times that he did not want disputes over a "final goal" to disrupt debate on campaign issues that will form the government's agenda. His remarks were seen as a reassuring signal to the US ahead of talks with Washington. Although Hsieh has made no secret of his support for the DPP's long-term goal of formal independence, he said that, if elected, his priorities would be mending ties with both Beijing and Washington. Fifteen minutes after Hsieh boarded a flight to the US, Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian announced that he had filed a membership request for "Taiwan" with the UN secretary-general.