Fri, May 19, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Lee lists political reform among his achievements

STAFF WRITER

Outgoing President Lee Teng-hui accepts a toast from a National Assembly delegate at a banquet held at the Ambassador Hotel in Taipei in his honor.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Listing his own achievements in a speech yesterday, outgoing President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) emphasized the importance of national security and dignity in cross-strait relations.

At a seminar held by the KMT-linked Taiwan Research Institute (TRI) yesterday to discuss Lee's administration over the past 12 years, Lee thanked Taiwan's people for the support they gave to his political reform during Taiwan's transition to democracy.

"My participation in politics was an accident in my life. It was an historical coincidence that ushered me into the presidency," Lee said.

Lee counted among his ach-ievements the political, economic, and social transformation of Taiwan, as well as the opening of a new page in cross-strait relations.

Lee said his political achievements also included the abolition of the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款), constitutional reform, promoting the election by popular vote for members of the Legislative Yuan and the National Assembly and the direct election of president.

During his 12-year presidency, he said the volume of international trade doubled, with the average national income rising to US$14,000.

As for cross-strait relations, Lee stressed the importance of reciprocity and mutual benefit in interaction between Taiwan and China.

"Cross-strait relations should be based on respect for Taiwan's security and dignity, and also the fact that Taiwan and China are two separate political entities.

Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英), TRI president and a long-time close confidante to Lee, said Lee's greatest contribution was that he had managed to maintain social stability and to implement the direct election of the president while under constant pressure from China.

National Taiwan University professor Chao Yung-mao (趙永茂), however, said although Lee deserved some credit for promoting democracy, he should also be held responsible for the deterioration of Taiwan's social order and continuing "black gold" politics.

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