Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday that he will visit Japan next month but he would not detail his itinerary until shortly before he leaves in order to prevent any attempt by China to obstruct his trip.
Lee announced the trip during a gathering with the press, the first time in four years that he has sat down for a talk with reporters.
Taiwan Solidarity Union [TSU] Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) was also at the meeting.
Lee also gave his viewpoint on recent political developments, including calls for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to resign, for Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to succeed Chen and for Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to be named premier.
"This notion of a Lu-Wang alliance was created by some people, who attributed the idea to me. It was never my idea," he said.
Lee did not give concrete answers to several questions, saying "I had no idea" or "You could ask Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang," who was sitting next to him.
The only definite answer he was willing to give was about his trip to Japan. He said that a new Japanese prime minister will take office next month, which is why he thought it would be a good time for a visit.
"But to prevent unnecessary disturbances, I will not announce my schedule until I leave," he said.
When asked about Chen's proposal on Saturday that CKS International Airport be renamed "Taipei International Airport," Lee said that correcting the country's official name and writing a new constitution are complicated issues that involve Taiwan's relations with the US and other countries.
"It is not a goal that can be reached in one step. There are so many problems to be solved. We have to do it step by step. We have to make other countries understand Taiwan's reasons for changing its name and a new constitution," he said.
As for the question of whether a presidential or a parliamentary system should be adopted, Lee said he had a personal view on the subject, but now was not the time to discuss it.
"I don't care about any specific political figure. What I care about is the establishment of a democratic system. Only political stability can assure people of a stable life," he said.
"I would not join in any campaign to oust any person," he added.
When asked about the political disputes over the Presidential Office's special expenditure allowance, Lee said the controversy should be settled by law.
He said he had dealt with the same issue when he was president according to systems in place at that time. He said he had no idea what was involved in Chen's problems with the fund.
Asked whether the TSU would join a pan-blue motion to topple the Cabinet, Lee said Shu would have his own opinion.
Lee said it was important for journalists to provide balanced reporting and verify their sources.
He also clarified a criticism he made on Saturday about the Cabinet's cross-strait policy, saying that he had not been trying to target Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), simply trying to point out some policy-making mistakes. Lee had said that the policy was not aimed at defending Taiwan's development but a promoting unification with China.
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