In his New Year's address yesterday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stressed the need for reconciliation and dialogue as he called for both the ruling and opposition parties to take the initial step toward reconciliation and cooperation needed to power the nation toward reinvigo-rating the economy and upgrading its national competitiveness.
"Today is the beginning of a new year; I would like to hereby advocate openly that Taiwan must head toward a new era of consultation and dialogue," Chen said.
"Taiwan does not need bifurcation between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, nor does it need ongoing confrontation between the governing and opposition parties," he said, adding that "the governing and opposition parties each have their own roles to play. Fair competition, cooperation rather than confrontation, checks and bal-ances, and solidarity rather than infighting -- these are now the ardent expectations of the people of Taiwan."
Stating that "politics is an art of possibilities," Chen, noting that according to the Constitution the president should appoint a new premier and form a new Cabinet after the old one resigns, said he will listen attentively to the voice of the people and to the opinions of the governing and opposition parties in the process of making his decision.
"As long as it will benefit the stability of domestic politics, the welfare of the people, harmony among ethnic groups and cross-strait peace, anything can be open to reconciliation or cooperation between the governing and opposition parties," he said. Chen said that he expected to see a win-win situation in future relations between the governing and opposition parties, as well as the interaction between the new legislature and Cabinet.
In order to create a new and stable environment based on rational consultation and sincere dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties, Chen suggested the two sides could start with areas on which consensus had already been reached. These included the "10 priority bills" and "nine major laws" which the ruling and the opposition parties had showcased to their constituencies before last year's Dec. 11 legislative elections.
"We believe that these policy and legislative proposals would make good starting points for the engagement of rational consultation and sincere dialogue among political parties," Chen said.
In a bid to realize this goal, Chen expressed his willingness to invite leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties, as well as representatives of the executive and legislative branches of government, to meet as soon as possible to negotiate these legislations.
On the cross-strait front, Chen condemned Beijing's attempts to enact an anti-secession law, calling it an effort to seek justification for a military invasion of Taiwan. The move therefore constituted a unilateral change of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and posed the greatest threat to regional stability and world peace, Chen said.
"In the past four years, we have on many occasions extended olive branches to China ? Despite our efforts, China remains reluctant to renounce its military intimidation of Taiwan," Chen said, and warmed "the Chinese authority not to underestimate the will of the Tai-wanese people to defend the sovereignty, security and dignity of the Republic of China."