Sun, Sep 05, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen praises Taiwan-US relationship

NO PROBLEM Playing down concerns that the relationship between Taiwan and the US has changed, President Chen Shui-bian said on Friday that the two are best friends

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN SEATTLE, WITH CNA

Addressing concerns that there have been changes in the relationship between Taiwan and the US, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Friday stressed that there is no problem in Taiwan's relationship with the US.

Chen made the remarks while attending a banquet held in his honor by Taiwanese expatriates in Seattle. Concluding his Central American trip, Chen and his entourage on Friday arrived in Seattle for a stopover before returning to Taipei early today.

"Some said that Taiwan's treatment by the US [this time] had gone backward in comparison with last year," Chen said, referring to his high-profile stopover in New York on his way to Panama last year. On that occasion, Chen received an international human-rights award, delivered a speech and was interviewed by the media during a cruise on the East River.

Chen kept a lower profile this time in his stopovers in Hawaii and Seattle on his way to and back from Central America, and the stops had been cut short to between seven and nine hours from original planned overnight stays.

Regarding the trip this time, Chen said that he appreciated the treatment he received during his transits in Hawaii and Seattle and cited examples to demonstrate the US' friendliness.

Chen said that during his travels in Hawaii, the US government had cleared the traffic for his motorcade, "which was unprecedented during the past four years."

Chen also said that editorials published by the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post Intelligencer were encouraging -- the former welcomed his visit and the latter commended his announcement on Monday to cancel Taiwan's annual live-fire military drills as a gesture of goodwill for cross-strait peace.

"Taiwan and the US are best friends, and being friends, we have to have empathy, comprehend our friend's situation and not bother them when they are occupied with other important events," Chen said, referring to the US' Nov. 2 election.

"As a national leader, I have the responsibility not to let our children go to the battlefields," Chen said, reiterating that he would not accept the unification law which China intended to enact.

"Not only Taiwan can't accept such a law, but the US and the rest of the peace-loving world would not find the unification law acceptable either," Chen said, adding that he hopes to build Taiwan "to be a complete, normal, great and beautiful country."

Chen also said that for the sake of national unity, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is ready to cede some power and resources to other parties.

"For the sake of unifying Taiwan, the DPP will release some of its power and resources and let a non-DPP person serve as the Control Yuan president," Chen said.

Current Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien (錢復) has said that he won't continue in the post after his present term ends next year.

On criticism that this decision by Chen demonstrates conniving on his part, Chen said that when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in power, it never occurred to them to give the post of head of one of the five yuans to a member of another party.

Claiming that "the DPP is broad-minded," the president said democracy requires checks and balances to prevent the accumulation of absolute power and thus corruption.

He stressed that the DPP will not adopt a "winner takes all" approach, adding that in the next three or four years, he will lead Taiwan in this spirit to enable the country to shed its tragic past and move toward becoming a "normal, complete, great and beautiful country."

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