Tue, Apr 01, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Lien plans surrender, Chen says

GIVING UP THE NATION Chen Shui-bian says the KMT chairman's plan to visit China if elected in 2004 shows he plans to make Taiwan a special administrative region under Beijing's control

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) proposal to visit China should he be elected president a "voyage of surrendering," saying the trip would only be possible if Taiwan's leader accepts the "one China" principle.

While meeting with Gordon Chang, the Chinese-American writer of The Coming Collapse of China, Chen lambasted Lien's idea, which Lien floated on Sunday after the KMT selected him as its candidate for next year's presidential election.

Lien said that, if elected, he would make an immediate visit to China, dubbing the trip a "journey of peace."

He promised that he would push for the immediate opening of direct air links with China and sign agreements with Beijing so that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait can live in peace.

The president was quick to pour cold water on Lien's plans yesterday.

"China has never acknowledged Taiwan's name and its nationhood. If a certain person [promises to] immediately deny [the existence of] our nation once he is elected as president, [I] don't believe this sort of person would be elected," Chen said.

Chen said the nation's leader could only visit China if he accepts the "one China" principle, which would also mean accepting Beijing's "one country, two systems" and agreeing that Taiwan is a Chinese province or a special administrative region like Hong Kong.

Chen said there would be no Republic of China (ROC) under this scheme and no ROC president.

Defending his plan, Lien urged the president to refrain from setting a bad example in the presidential campaign by using vicious language and encouraged Chen to be "broad-minded."

Chen also reminded voters of the brutal nature of the regime in Beijing.

He said the Chinese government has trampled on human rights by deliberately hiding the spread of a deadly illness and by forbidding the media to cover the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. (SARS).

Chang said Beijing has made a negative impression on the world with its handling of the outbreak, adding that the incident has reminded the international community that it is irrational to prevent Taiwan from joining international organizations due to pressure from China.

Chen said SARS knows no national boundaries.

"Taiwan's being excluded from the World Health Organization shows disregard for the interests of 23 million Taiwanese," he said.

The president also disagreed with statements by Kenichi Ohmae, a Japanese academic, who predicted that China and Taiwan would form a "Chinese federation" as growing cross-strait integration gives way to political integration.

Chen said he is confident that the DPP will continue to rule after next March's presidential election and that political integration with China would not happen under a DPP administration.

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