Mon, Oct 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

VP Lu calls on Shih to show restraint

THE `HATE CHEN' CLUB Shih and the `reds' claim that the target of their siege will be the president alone, not the national day celebration nor any attending guests


Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called on the leader of the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to refrain from sabotaging the nation's image during National Day tomorrow. The group has threatened to stage a large protest to mark the occasion.

The protest has been billed as the climax of a campaign urging Chen to resign over allegations that his family and members of his inner circle abused their relationship to him for personal financial gain.

The protesters have been told to wear red to symbolize their anger at Chen as they surround the sprawling Presidential Office building and nearby Ketagalan Boulevard where thousands of foreign and local dignitaries and students are scheduled to hold an official ceremony.

"[Shih] Ming-teh (施明德), my brother and all of the friends who follow you, I hope you will let the nation celebrate its birthday jubilantly," Lu said. "If there is anything you want to talk about, let's close the door and talk about it since you are one of us."

Lu said that she hoped Shih and his supporters would not do anything radical that would undermine the nation's dignity and tarnish its image on one of its most important holidays.

Lu made the remarks yesterday afternoon while addressing a religious ceremony in Taitung County.

Shih has called on 2 million protesters to join him in a "siege" tomorrow of the Presidential Office building from four directions.

Organizers claimed that the target of the siege will be the president alone, not the Double Ten National Day celebration nor the attending guests.

Lu said that life is short and one must make the most of it. Individuals must also take into consideration that when the day comes, he or she does not have any regrets.

"Don't envy me or President A-Bian [Chen's nickname] because we are the ones who bear the plight of the nation's 23 million people," she said. "The higher the position, the bigger the risk and the harsher the criticism. The President and I are willing to accept all criticisms with an open mind."

While she and Chen have exerted themselves to make the country a better place, she said some people are still unsatisfied.

"We can only make more effort to do a better job," she said.

In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned yesterday that China could launch a fresh diplomatic attempt to lure away allies from the island as it prepares to celebrate Double Ten National Day.

Ministry Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said that while Taiwan enjoyed "stable" diplomatic relations with 24 countries, it was "stepping up alert ... to keep a close eye on any new development."

He said Beijing had changed its behavior in recent years, often aggressively courting Taipei's diplomatic partners.

"The Chinese Communists have repeatedly chosen some dates that are critical to Taiwan to announce their diplomatic offensives," he said.

"Their purpose is aimed at embarrassing Taiwan," Michael Lu said, in what he called Beijing's "zero-sum" game to squeeze Taipei's international space.

Also see stories:

Police organize forces for planned `siege'

Wang prays for a smooth Double Ten National Day

Analysis: Yu's raising of sovereignty issue linked to personal goals

Lawmaker recall drive launched by Shih's group

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