Sat, Jun 24, 2000 - Page 1 News List

KMT wants to supervise Chen's team

CROSS-STRAIT POLICY KMT lawmakers say that President Chen Shui-bian's task force should be kept in check by a group organized by the majority KMT caucus in the legislature

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said it is an inevitable trend for the legislative branch to play a more active role in cross-strait affairs, despite the lack of an inter-party consensus so far on how this might come about.

"It is lawmakers' legal responsibility to monitor the government's cross-strait policy and take part in cross-strait affairs. This is a trend we can't block," Wang said.

Wang said the situation is different now compared with the past when President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was in office and dominated cross-strait policy.

"There wasn't any problem back then because nobody was challenging him [Lee]," Wang said.

In a move widely believed to be intended to challenge President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inter-party task force on cross-strait relations that is set to be established next week, the majority KMT caucus in the legislature on Thursday put forth a proposal to set up a special legislative group to strengthen its watch over the government's cross-strait policies.

The task force, a non-institutional body chaired by Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), has been designated by Chen to work out a cross-party consensus on cross-strait relations.

Chen has said that the committee will be a consultative body answering to the president and has promised that it will not take over the functions of the existing National Unification Council, Mainland Affairs Council or Straits Exchange Foundation.

The KMT lawmakers, however, have argued that cross-strait policy should be subject to the legislature's supervision.

"The legislature is responsible to the people and is the political center. We need to bring the issue back into the constitutional system and strengthen the legislature's supervision over cross-strait affairs," said KMT legislator Hong Yu-chin (洪玉欽), who is also executive director of the KMT's central policy committee.

Hong said it is necessary for the legislature to set up a special group because decisions affecting cross-strait policy not only involve the Presidential Office, but also a number of different ministries under the Executive Yuan.

Caucus leaders yesterday failed to reach a consensus on the matter in an inter-party negotiation called by Wang. Another round of negotiation has been scheduled for Monday.

With the exception of the KMT caucus, the DPP, the People First Party (PFP) and the New Party caucuses, all argued that the issue should be put off until they have obtained a clearer picture of how the group is to be operated.

Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), spokesman for the PFP caucus, said setting up the group is not as urgent as the KMT has claimed since the legislature's Home and Border Affairs Committee and even the floor of the legislature are the existing devices to watch cross-strait policy.

However, Liu agreed that the making of cross-strait policy should be conducted within an institutional framework.

"When there is a National Unification Council under the Presidential Office, President Chen should respect this organization," Liu said.

Liu said that if the cross-party task force is necessary, it should be truly "cross party," rather than a rubber stamp for Chen.

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