Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Ex-defense minister asks Chen to clarify `soft coup'

ALLEGATIONS Chiang Chung-ling yesterday called the on the president to present evidence to prove he'd been involved in planning an alleged ''soft coup''

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former minister of national defense Chiang Chung-ling (蔣仲苓) yesterday asked President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to confront him in public or even on TV to clarify the president's accusations that he had planned a "soft coup d'etat" after the March 20 presidential election.

"He [Chen] has told so many lies to deceive voters to win the upcoming legislative election," Chiang said during a press conference yesterday at the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) central headquarters.

"And his trick is to divide retired generals from current serving military officials," Chiang said.

The president stated during the past two weeks' campaign activities that some retired generals tried to convince high-ranking military officials to resign or fake illness and check into hospital after the presidential election. According to Chen, the purpose of this was to create social instability to negate the legitimacy of his re-election.

Chiang, accompanied at the press conference by some retired generals, including former deputy minister of national defense Wang Wen-hsieh (王文燮), former chairman of the Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen (VACRS) Li Chen-lin (李楨林), denied the president's allegations.

"Accusing somebody of launching a coup d'etat is a serious allegation. However, he [Chen] just hinted that I had been involved in such an event rather than directly naming me to evade legal responsibility," Chiang said.

"I asked him to make public the evidence, including the time, place, and list of names, to support his accusations, and if it is the truth, I will accept the law's harshest punishment," Chiang said.

He said that the "soft coup d'etat" allegation displayed Chen's scheme to alienate the military.

"He is warning currently serving high-ranking generals that those who do not submit themselves to the president must go, and only those who have no moral integrity will be promoted," Chiang said.

When asked by reporters to provide examples of high-ranking generals without moral integrity, Chiang refused to provide names, saying only that, "everybody knows who they are."

Chiang urged current Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑), and Lee's predecessor Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明), to clarify whether he had done the things mentioned by Chen.

"And I am willing to face-off with him [Chen] in public or on TV," Chiang said.

He said Chen had humiliated the military. "The military is sworn to defend the Republic of China, and will never defect," he said.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) also said Chen was trying to put an "ideological frame" on the military to force military officials and soldiers to support the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislative candidates.

Also see story:

Chen's `soft coup' claim a part of DPP campaigning

Editorial:Chen can't rely on Lien's stupidity

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