Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen talks about Constitution during stopover in Guam

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN GUAM

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that his push for a new constitution is in line with US President George W. Bush's inauguration-speech call to expand freedom and democracy.

Chen made the remarks while attending a banquet held in his honor by Taiwanese expatriates in Guam at the Hilton Hotel, after laying a wreath at the Asan Beach Pacific War memorial.

The memorial is "the only site in the US National Park System [comprised of 385 parks] that honors the bravery and sacrifices of all those who participated in the Pacific Theater of World War II. This includes the United States, Japan and the Allied nations; Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union," according to its Web site.

Concluding his five-day diplomatic visit to two of Taiwan's allies in the South Pacific, Chen and his entourage yesterday made a brief five-hour stopover in the US territory before arriving in Taipei last night.

In his speech, Chen said his push for constitutional reform will proceed in accordance with the procedures stated in the Constitution

The president said that constitutional reform will not touch upon the topics of independence or unification. Chen also said he was committed to promoting reconciliation among Taiwan's governing and opposition parties.

Chen expressed his gratitude to the government of Guam for passing a resolution welcoming his stopover.

He also extended his invitation to Governor Felix Perez Camacho of Guam to visit Taipei as soon as such an opportunity arose.

Chen's aides said that Taiwan experienced no difficulties in arranging for the president's transit stop in Guam, with US officials agreeing to the request.

Chen was greeted at the airport by David Brown, a board director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Governor Camacho and Representative Madeleine Bordallo, Guam's member of the US Congress.

David Lee (李大維), Taiwan's representative to the US, and Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission Chairwoman Chang Fu-mei (張富美) were also at the airport to greet the president and his entourage.

The brief transit in Guam marked the third time in six months that Chen was on US soil.

The previous stops took place during Chen's diplomatic trip to Panama and Belize last October, when he made stopovers in Hawaii and Seattle.

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