Tue, Oct 12, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lee calls president's speech deceptive

SIMPLY RHETORIC The former president said that Taiwan and Republic of China were not synonymous, and that only constitutional reform could really save Taiwan

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui criticizes President Chen Shui-bian over his comment that ``the Republic of China'' and ``Taiwan'' are synonyms at a seminar held by Taiwan Advocates yesterday.

PHOTO: YEH CHIH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) National Day speech, which suggested "Republic of China" and "Taiwan" are synonyms, was merely deceptive rhetoric, and said that a new constitution was the fundamental means by which Taiwan could defend itself from Chinese threats.

But after offering this blunt criticism, Lee toned down his disapproval of Chen's speech, saying that he understood Chen's difficulty because he had also said "the Republic of China is on Taiwan" when he was the president, and "this is the way things are," Lee said.

Lee made the remarks during a symposium in which many Japanese and Taiwanese academics discussed the evolution and development of the constitutions of Taiwan and Japan and the stability and security of Asia, held by the group Taiwan Advocates yesterday. Lee gave a speech entitled "Only if Taiwan makes a new constitution can the stability and security of Asia be permanently assured."

During his speech, Lee refuted Chen's position as outlined in his National Day speech that "the Republic of China is Taiwan, and Taiwan is the Republic of China" as rhetoric that "deceived himself as well as others."

"Besides, there was no `1992 consensus.' I was the president at that time and I knew there was no such thing," Lee said.

As Taiwan's president for 12 years, Lee said that he deeply believed that the concept of a "Republic of China" was simply a case of the "emperor's new clothes," designed to cheat the people of Taiwan.

"No one in international society knows what `Republic of China' is," Lee said.

"If the people of Taiwan continue to be limited to the context of `Republic of China,' Taiwan will neither join the international community nor resolve the instability in the Taiwan Strait," Lee continued. "If the people of Taiwan don't terminate this abnormality of Taiwan by making a new constitution, and choose to escape from reality with the excuse of maintaining the `status quo,' it will be an irresponsible attitude for ourselves, our descendants and the peace and stability of Asia."

Lee said that the Constitution of the Republic of China does not meet the present conditions of Taiwan, and only traps Taiwan into the legal snare of "one China."

Lee stressed that the Republic of China maintains the "one China" system in jurisprudence, and thus emboldens China to invade Taiwan thereby threatening to spark the biggest crisis in the region.

"China will continue to take advantage of such legal snares and will disseminate propaganda to the international society that the Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China, which will eventually subject Taiwan to China's military threat," Lee said.

The fundamental solution to protect Taiwan from the threat of China is to create a believable and reasonable constitution for Taiwan, Lee said, adding that he anticipates achieving this goal by 2007.

Lee also suggested that Taiwan be ruled under a three-branch system (三權分立), instead of the current five-branch government (五權分立) and the new constitution should state clearly whether Taiwan's political system is a presidential system or a Cabinet system, so that the government and legislature could have a balanced division of responsibility.

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