President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced yesterday that he will not issue a rebuttal to an opposition-sponsored recall motion, but will instead explain to the people his achievements over the past six years.
"I will list the achievements made over the years and tell the public the difficulties my administration has run into over the course of time," Chen said. "Please don't worry, I will be strong, very strong. I will not give up my role nor the responsibilities vested in me, nor will I give in."
Chen made the remarks while receiving heads of seven southern counties and cities governed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), marking his first public response to the recall motion.
Expressing his regret over the delay of the arms procurement package, Chen revealed he plans to visit the frontline islands of Kinmen, Little Kinmen and Tatan today to show his administration's concern for the armed forces.
"The opposition pan-blue camp's so-called `reasonable' arms procurement plan is nothing but politicking," he said. "The package is still bogged down in legislative procedures despite the adjustments made in accordance with their requests."
Chen also criticized the pan-blue camp's insistence on trying to ram through a bill allowing direct cross-strait transportation links as "immoral" and "irresponsible," and said that the pan-blue camp was ignoring the plight of flood victims in the south.
Earlier yesterday afternoon, Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) described the "10 crimes" listed by the opposition pan-blue alliance as their justification for the recall motion as being "nothing but a random rehash."
"Do they think Taiwanese people are so dumb that they will believe their nonsense?" he told reporters after the DPP's Central Executive Committee meeting.
Mark Chen later told foreign correspondents invited to the Presidential Office for a tea party that the president is planning to focus his attention on cross-strait and constitutional re-engineering issues during the remaining two years of his term.
In a separate event yesterday, President Chen called on opposition leaders to put aside election grudges and respect the result of the judicial investigation into his in-laws.
"We respect opposition legislators' right to file a recall motion as long as it conforms to the constitutional procedure," he said. "A-bian sincerely urges opposition leaders to separate issues of justice from politicking and let the society return to its normal functioning."
Chen made the remarks yesterday while addressing members of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei. Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the quasi-official organization.
President Chen emphasized the importance of democracy and the rule of law, insinuating that opposition lawmakers would be trampling on the power of the judiciary if they went ahead with their plan to hold hearings during the recall process.
"Anyone committing a crime must accept punishment in accordance with the law. Since A-bian's son-in-law is embroiled in a legal case, A-bian and his family have been suffering a lot and no one can understand what the family has been through," he said. "It is the father-in-law's fault that the son-in-law behaved badly because he failed to teach him well. I am sorry for what happened and feel very distraught."
The DPP yesterday passed a resolution at its central executive committee meeting saying that the DPP supports the president's decision not to submit a rebuttal to the recall motion, DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
Prior to the president's official announcement of his decision regarding the rebuttal, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
"President Chen should defend himself in response to the recall motion even though he is unhappy about it and is unwilling to do it. It's his chance to defend himself, as well as a sign of respect to the Legislative Yuan," Ma said.
Ma said that responding to the recall motion is Chen's right and obligation. He urged the president to respect the legislature by responding to the motion.
"He can give up his own rights, but he can't give up his obligations," he added.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih and Jewel Huang
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