President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) is the founding father of the nation and the flag of the Republic of China is "the flag of our country."
Chen made the remarks in the wake of an uproar caused by Examination Yuan president Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) and Examination Yuan member Lin Yu-ti (林玉体), who earlier this week said that while Sun was worthy of respect, they did not support his designation as the nation's father.
"Sun Yat-sen is the founding father of our country and the flag of the ROC is the flag of our country. There is nothing to argue about, to smear or to distort," said Chen while visiting a temple in Neihu, Taipei City accompanied by number of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidates.
Later in the day, Chen's campaign trail took him Yunlin, Changhua and Taichung counties where Chen pledged to pass the National Pension Law (國民年金法) should the pan-greens win a majority in the legislature. The passage of the law will allow senior citizens aged 65 or older to receive a monthly pension of NT$7,500, Chen said.
The legislation governing the Resolution Trust Cooperation (金融重建基金, RTC) would be the new legislature's priority to help advance the nation's economic development, added Chen.
Stating that many key bills have been stalled in the opposition pan-blue controlled legislature, Chen appealed to voters for support so that the DPP, together with its political ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), could "achieve its goal of winning a stable pan-green majority in the new legislature and secure greater progress in reform."
Chen, who also doubles as the DPP's chairman, told the crowd that he would be a lame duck if the pan-greens do not control the new legislature.
"On March 20, you gave me a chance to have a second term in office, I hope that on Dec., 11, you will give me a clear majority too in the new legislature to help [me] fulfill promises made during my re-election campaign," Chen told the crowd while in stumping for DPP hopefuls in Yunlin County.
At the venue, Chen took the opportunity to rebut recent remarks made by opposition People First Party (PFP) chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) who prophesied that there would be a catastrophic cross-strait war next year should the pan-green camp be granted a majority in the legislative elections.
"If this person can really predict the future, then why was he wrong in prophesying his own fortune?" said Chen, referring to Soong's unsuccessful bids in the 2000 presidential election and this year on a joint ticket with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰).
"If he can't be right about himself, how correct can he be about Taiwan?" Chen said.
Citing incidents in 1996 where China lobbed nuclear-capable missiles into the Taiwan Strait as well as China's threatening rhetoric in the run up to the 2000 presidential election -- when the KMT held both the majority in the legislature and controlled the government -- Chen said that one ought not to relate cross-strait war to the pan-green camp and to intimidate Taiwanese people with war.
According to DPP headquarters, Chen is slated to carry out a swing of at least 42 rallies nationwide in all 27 constituencies in the run-up to the Dec. 11 legislative election. Chen will today travel to Keelung City and Taipei County to stump for the DPP's legislative candidates in these regions.