Sun, Jan 08, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chen lays down the law on Cabinet

MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY The president made it clear that those who are against tightening cross-strait economic relations will not be in the new Cabinet

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that those who do not identify with his "active management, effective opening" approach to cross-strait economic exchanges will not be invited to become members of the new Cabinet.

"I will not invite those who disagree with the policy adjustment from `active opening, effective management' to `active management, effective opening' into any future cabinet," Presidential Office Spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) said, quoting remarks made by the president during a behind-closed-doors speech to members of the Ketagelan Institute, an academy he founded in March 2003.

The president told students of the academy that the policy he outlined as the new directive for the development of Taiwan's economic and trade relations with China during his New Year's Day address is the "correct" one to replace the previous policy of "active opening, effective management."

The president said the adjustment was aimed at reducing Taiwan's over-reliance on economic ties with China, whose eventual goal is to annex Taiwan.

"The adjustment was correct and all the Cabinet members, including the premier, the deputy premier, ministers and other related officials all have to follow [this new guideline] thoroughly. They can't work in the government without first accepting this idea," he said.

The president's adjustment of cross-strait economic policy was scoffed at by Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who said "the president should wake up."

In response, the president said yesterday that it was exactly because he is clear-headed that he made the adjustment.

"It is those who still fancy China that should wake up," the president said.

The adjustment of cross-strait policy has also been taken as a sign that the president does not intend to invite the opposition camp, whose pro-China stance is against restricting cross-strait economic exchanges, to form a new Cabinet.

The president's speech yesterday appeared to confirm such a move.

The president went on to say that he has realized during the past six years of his presidency that "whatever China says or does to Taiwan, it has only one purpose -- to annex Taiwan."

"Giving away its pandas and offering preferential treatment to the people of Taiwan are part of its measures to achieve this purpose. In view of this, to keep on tilting toward China is no different to committing suicide," the president said, referring to the pair of pandas which China announced it had selected as gifts for Taiwan.

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