Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 1 News List

TSU set to enhance legislative power

PROMISES FOR FUTURE Former president Lee Teng-hui predicted that the Taiwan Solidarity Union will increase its presence in the Legislative Yuan by the end of the year

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui, third left, and Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Chu-wen, fourth left, jointly cut a cake at the TSU's national congress yesterday in an early Father's Day celebration in honor of Lee. Lee also endorsed the the party's latest campaign platform during the event.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday predicted at the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) national congress that the party, of which he is the spiritual leader, has a good chance of boosting its number of Legislative Yuan members to 50 by 2007. This would be expected, he said, under the current favorable international situation where China is preoccupied with its own growing domestic problems while the US continues its war on terrorism.

Lee, who founded the TSU in 2001, said that the party has promising prospects to expand its presence in the legislature as, to his mind, there wouldn't be any major cross-strait conflicts by 2007 because the Chinese leadership is preoccupied with internal power struggles ahead of the Communist Party's 17th National Congress.

The small party currently holds 12 legislative seats and is aiming to enlarge that number to 30 at the legislative elections at the end of the year.

Lee said it does not matter whether US President George W. Bush or his challenger John Kerry becomes the next US president, America will still continue with its anti-terrorism strategies, making Middle East problems a critical item on its foreign policy agenda and cross-strait relations a less urgent issue to grapple with.

Lee said that, in the run-up to 2007, China will be facing a series of domestic problems including the decrease of economic growth, labor problems and power struggles ahead of the Chinese Communist Party's 17th National Congress, which altogether will leave Beijing too preoccupied to take further hostile action against Taiwan.

"China, like I used to put it, is just a barking dog that doesn't bite. From 1996 to 2000, it had constantly threatened to use force against Taiwan in an attempt to influence Taiwan's presidential elections. But they never succeeded. This year, we saw China almost unable to do anything for the same purpose.

"Given the future development of China's domestic situation and international relations, it will be to Taiwan's advantage to exert its strategic leverage more freely," Lee said yesterday.

Lee also endorsed the announcement of the party's campaign platform which aims to create a new constitution for Taiwan through a national referendum.

A long-term goal to be achieved, Lee said the TSU is capable of increasing its legislative seats to 50 by 2007, as a change in the political landscape has taken place since the March 20 presidential election.

"A Taiwan-centered consciousness has begun to take root in Taiwanese society, while the party-state institution run by the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime has been terminated. The opposition parties, which staged the post-election protests from March 20 to May 20, reflected their ignorance of this trend. They claimed to deal with China in peace while advocating unification, but, as a matter of fact, Taiwan has become an independent and sovereign country after March 20," Lee said.

Apart from pushing a campaign platform to create a new Taiwan constitution and change the official title of the country to Taiwan, Lee urged TSU members to propagandize the party's policies in education, public safety, the economy and national defense, and their relevance to Taiwan-centered values and interests.

Meanwhile, the former president, a member of the Presbyterian church, advised the TSU to boost its ties with Taiwan's Aboriginals, including extending support to Aboriginal communities through church-based networks, as well as cultivating support from Mainlanders.

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