Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Presidential adviser Wu backtracks

BETTER SERVED Wu Li-pei said he was still upset with Chen for his performance while meeting with Soong, but his drive to serve his country motivated him to remain in his official post

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Senior Presidential Adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) decided to retract his resignation after speaking with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday.

After their two-hour talk yesterday morning, Wu said he could feel Chen's sincerity in his belief that he did not abandon his ideals or betray the Taiwanese people by reaching a 10-point consensus with People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

"I am willing to give President Chen the benefit of the doubt, and thus I've decided, for now, to not resign and stay on as a senior presidential advisor," Wu said yesterday at a press conference.

Stating that the row over resignation had gotten out of hand, Wu called on the public to let go of the event and urged them to turn their attention to "what supposedly is the more urgent matter -- China's proposed `anti-secession law.'"

Wu said he had told the president during their chat that he, as well as many overseas Taiwanese he represents, "were disappointed by Chen's positions in his meeting with Soong."

Wu, like several presidential and national policy advisors who were irked by Chen's positions at the meeting last Thursday -- as well as the 10-point consensus which was produced as result -- tendered his resignation on Tuesday in protest.

The agreement included Chen's reiteration that during his time in office, he would not promote independence or change the country's official name.

"Just because I decide to stay at the post does not mean I completely accept the 10-point consensus, although the truth is that the consensus did not upset me that much, since it's basically in line with what Chen said before," said Wu, a long-time overseas Taiwanese independence advocate who gave up his US citizenship last July to return to Taiwan and to serve as a senior advisor.

"What I found the most disappointing was Chen's performance and rhetoric at the press conference [following the meeting with Soong]," Wu said.

"When Soong said that he is `proud to be a person from Hunan [Province in China] and proud to be Chinese,' why then didn't President Chen rebut by saying he is proud to be a person from Tainan and proud to be a Taiwanese? He just simply stood idly by and said nothing," Wu added.

Despite the statement that the future of the nation should be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan, Soong said during the press conference that "Taiwan independence is definitely not an option to the PFP."

This also frustrated Wu: "Why didn't Chen counter that by reiterating that Taiwan's future should be decided by Taiwan's 23 million people?"

"Chen told me that that's what he was thinking at the time, but I told him if you didn't say what you think, how will the people know?" Wu said.

"I told the president that the most important thing right now is to make up for [the meeting] by coming out and making a clear explanation to the public," he added.

When asked whether he was concerned about how his decision to stay would be interpreted by outsiders, Wu said he was not worried.

"I am not a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nor the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU)," Wu said. "I care only about Taiwan. It is the only thing that drives me in what I do."

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