President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has expressed his gratitude for former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh's (李遠哲) advice after the Nobel laureate wrote an open letter to Chen asking him to consider resigning, the Presidential Office said yesterday.
In a press release, the Department of Public Affairs said Chen had said that the question of whether he stays in office or steps down is of little significance to him personally, but that he would still listen to different voices on the matter.
Lee issued the letter on Thursday from Paris, where he is attending a conference.
In his letter, Lee called on Chen to seriously consider resigning for the sake of the nation's stability following the indictment of first lady Wu Shu-jen (
Describing the indictment as "a vital challenge for the long-term reform and establishment of Tai-wan's democratic core values," Lee, who previously served as head of a group of national policy advisers to the president, said that Chen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) "must choose to prioritize between their party and the entire country."
Lee said Taiwan now faces one of the most serious challenges in its democratic history, resulting from Wu's indictment and Chen's alleged misuse of a public funds.
"The indictment has led the government, the ruling party and the people to a turning point. It is my opinion that if President Chen wants to act on the will of the people, which is to safeguard Taiwan's democracy, he must carefully consider whether he should tender his resignation," Lee wrote.
"The DPP must choose to prioritize between their party and the entire country. The president and the party must evaluate whether they should persist to strive to achieve the value of democracy in which the people of Taiwan would always pursue," Lee added.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday that he believes Chen would react wisely and prudently to Lee's advice, noting that "friends should always place importance on advice from friends."
Su said he had gone to the Presidential Office to meet with Chen to discuss Lee's letter.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said that Chen had learned of Lee's letter on Thursday and that she believed he would heed it.
"As a democratic country, we respect everybody's opinions," she said yesterday.
Also see stories: