Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Chen: Viva democracy, viva UN entry

HISTORICAL FACT The president called on the world to criticize Beijing on human rights, its military exercises simulating an invasion of Taiwan and its missile arsenal

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dancers wear traditional costumes during the National Day celebrations in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: WALLY SANTANA, AP

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not make a public address during yesterday's Double Ten National Day celebrations, but vowed to persist with the nation's UN campaign during an indoor ceremony preceding the parade outside the Presidential Office.

Mentioning the country's official name -- the Republic of China (ROC) -- only once in his speech, Chen shouted "Viva democracy, Taiwan jiayou [加油, an expression of encouragement]" at the end of his address and wished "Taiwan sustainable peace and prosperity."

With placards reading "Taiwan's entry into the UN" on the facade of the Presidential Office, this year was the first time the building had not been decorated with placards displaying the nation's official name.

Chen said the decorations were different from that of previous years because the administration wanted to reflect its resolve to push for the nation's UN membership bid using the name "Taiwan."

Taiwan is an independent nation that belongs to the 23 million Taiwanese, Chen said, adding that only Taiwanese have final say on the country's future.

"This is a historical fact. The `status quo' in the Taiwan Strait is that Taiwan and the People's Republic of China [PRC] are two different nations," he said.

"China cannot represent the 23 million people of Taiwan and Taiwanese have the absolute right to request appropriate representation at the United Nations," he said.

To "return" to the international body using the name ROC -- as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has proposed -- not only challenges UN Resolution 2758 but would also plunge Taiwan into a more isolated and dangerous situation, Chen said.

With the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the second phase of a petition to validate its referendum proposal seeking UN membership, Chen said he hoped the referendum could be held alongside the presidential election on March 22.

Chen also called on the legislature to pass amendments to the Referendum Law (公投法), which he described as a "bird cage" law, during the current session.

While the international community has expressed concern over the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Myanmar, Chen said equal attention should be paid to China's notorious human rights records and its persecution of freedom of speech, press and religious freedom.

Chen called on the international community to pressure Beijing into dismantling the missiles targeted at Taiwan, stopping military drills simulating attacks on Taiwan, abolishing its "Anti-Secession" Law and speeding up political and democratic reforms.

"We believe that only through China's democratic awakening can there be sustainable peace in the world," he said.

Chen said he had extended several olive branches to Beijing but that his efforts had only been met with more suppression. He nevertheless vowed to maintain a "firm position, pragmatic advancement" and to continue seeking normalization of cross-strait relations.

Calling the "cross-strait common market" proposed by KMT vice presidential candidate Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) a "one China market," Chen said it was bound to lead to China's economic annexation of Taiwan.

Chen also cited statistics to dismiss opposition claims that Taiwan's economy is doing worse than South Korea's, saying that Taiwan was still one of Asia's four tigers.

"For those who have Taiwan on their mind, Taiwan will always be prominent," he said.

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