President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday said that constitutional reform is a bottom-up undertaking that should not be initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) without majority public participation.
“One political party by itself is not capable of carrying out such a huge task and we will explore the chances of holding dialogue with other political parties in the next phase,” Tsai said in an interview with the Central News Agency.
Tsai, who is also DPP chairperson, said at the party’s 17th national congress on Sept. 24 that the constitutional reform plan would include issues such as lowering the voting age to 18, codifying human rights and reforming the legislative election system to get rid of unequal vote values and inequitable representation.
Asked whether the reform should include a change to a Cabinet or fully presidential system of government, Tsai said she did not want to impose her personal views on the issue at this stage.
Constitutional reform is a task that should be tackled from the bottom to the top to allow participation by the majority of people, she said.
“Carrying out constitutional reform is like making a garment that must fit the person’s needs,” Tsai said. “It is important to have experienced people taking part in the discussions so that the reform will fit Taiwan’s current needs.”
Turning to the issue of the president giving a state of the nation address in the legislature, Tsai said she would not rule out becoming the first Taiwanese president to do so, if it was something the majority of people wanted.
The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China states that the president can give a state of the nation address in the legislature.
Asked whether the timing of a constitutional reform referendum would be tied to the election cycle, Tsai said she was not thinking along those lines and that it would all depend on how the issue evolved.
Local government elections are to be held next year, while the presidential and legislative elections are due in 2020.
Addressing a controversy over recent comments by newly appointed Premier William Lai (賴清德), Tsai said Lai is fully aware of the government’s overall policy goals and understands very well “what the limits are.”
On Sept. 26, Lai said in his first report to the legislature that he was “a pragmatic supporter of Taiwanese independence.”
“The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are independent of each other, with Taiwan being an independent sovereign state whose official title is the Republic of China,” Lai said in response to lawmakers’ questions about his views on cross-strait issues.
His comments sparked a firestorm at home and drew attention in the international community, including in China and the US, prompting the Presidential Office to issue a statement that the government had not changed its cross-strait policy.
In a follow-up statement on Friday, Lai said that the president was responsible for cross-strait policy and that in his role as premier, he would adhere to Tsai’s policy of maintaining the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly