Mon, Mar 05, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan must `go independent,' Chen tells FAPA dinner

STAFF WRITER

Taiwan needs to "go independent" and Taiwan was the best name for the country to use in seeking entry to the UN, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last night.

"Taiwan will say yes to independence," he said. "Taiwan will be correctly named, Taiwan will have a new constitution, Taiwan will develop. There is no left-right political axis in Taiwan, just the question of independence or assimilation."

"The name `Taiwan' is the name of our mother," the president told a 25th anniversary dinner for Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) in Taipei. "[It's] the most beautiful, most powerful name; the best name for us to [use to] enter the United Nations."

"Taiwan needs a new constitution in order to become a normal, complete country," he said. "The continual existence of Taiwan is beneficial to the citizenry, Taiwanese businesspeople and democratic groups. We can only ensure cross-straits peacefulness by implementing democracy, fostering economic prosperity and taking care of the marginalized."

When reporters asked pan-blue officials to comment on Chen's speech, the response from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) was critical.

"Chen's speech was an attempt to suppress former president Lee Tung-hui's (李登輝) recent remarks that Taiwan is already independent," said Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭),executive director of the KMT's policy coordination department, at a separate event last night.

"It was also an attempt to provoke China when it comes to the issue of cross-straits relations," Chang said. "He is trying to use his `four yesses and one no' to make waves in Taiwanese politics and draw attention away from the corruption that occurred during his administration."

Chang said that China would not be so easily provoked and the US would step in to curb Chen if he goes too far.

Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交), executive director of the PFP's policy coordination department, accused Chen of trying to play "the same old tricks." He said that Chen was "using rhetoric to stir up independence-unification issues for political gains."

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