Mon, Oct 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

President urges consideration of `Second Republic'

REVIVAL The idea of a new republic, a `country of our own' was raised by Koo Kwang-min in a 1996 article, as well as by former president Lee Teng-hui

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Touching on issues of constitutional reform, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last night that the idea of a "Second Republic" is worth considering.

Chen made the remarks in a speech at a birthday party for former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), who was celebrating his 80th birthday.

Whether Taiwan should "write a new constitution" or just "amend the current Constitution" has been in dispute, Chen said.

He did not, however, elaborate on what he meant by a "Second Republic."

Chen said last night that he wished people would spend time thinking about whether a "Second Republic," a suggestion made by Koo, was a good idea and whether it was suitable for Taiwan.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) later told reporters that the idea of a "Second Republic," was from Koo and the president himself was still thinking about it.

The president also cited an article written by Koo in which he mentioned that "Republic of China on Taiwan is neither an independent country nor is it our country."

He was referring to the 1996 article entitled "Establishing A Country of Our Own."

"Ten years ago, adviser Koo said that establishing a country of our own is not only his dream but his realization and resolution. Today, I want to say that establishing a country of our own is my dream, realization, and resolution," Chen Shui-bian said.

"This is the road that I will take, which is also the correct democratic road for everyone" he said.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) mentioned the idea of a "Second Republic" in his book Asia's Strategy, published in 2000.

Lee wrote that with full democracy, Taiwan has been reborn as a "new republic" and is not a province controlled by China.

"Taiwan must declare to the world that it is a sovereign nation or risk being taken over by the mainland," Lee wrote.

"Regarding Taiwan's identity, we have already reached the state of the `Taiwan Republic of China,'" Lee wrote. "The Republic of China no longer is the Republic of China, but is a new republic or the second republic."

Other guests at Koo's birthday party included Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun.

In a related development, Lee spoke of the need for politicians to avoid abusing their authority.

In a speech given at the fund-raising dinner of the Taiwan Advocates, the think tank that he founded, Lee said the key to the success of a democracy lies in whether politicians have self-awareness of what is the right thing to do and what is not.

Politicians should refrain from doing something they should not do even though the laws do not prohibit them from doing it.

He called on politicians to constrain their desire for power and money because "power comes from people."

Democracy will face a "deadly crisis" when people lose confidence in politics, the former president said, adding that all political confrontations should be resolved under people's supervision within democratic framework.

Additional reporting by Staff Writer

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