Chen warns pan-blues against proposed `peace' bill

AP , TAIPEI

Sat, Oct 15, 2005 - Page 1

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) warned opposition parties against proceeding with legislation that would reduce his power to negotiate with China, saying the bill would be tantamount to surrender.

"It's a peace promotion bill on the surface, but a surrender law in reality," Chen said.

"It would give China the power to decide on the future of Taiwan's 23 million people," he said. "If it is passed, I'm afraid ... 2 million Taiwanese would take to the streets to oppose it."

Chen's first public comments on the cross-strait peace advancement bill (兩岸和平促進法) were televised yesterday after he made them Thursday night at a meeting with members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) have tried to use their legislative majority to pass the bill proposed by the PFP.

The proposed bill would let a 19-member special committee -- instead of the president -- decide on major issues related to China.

The pan-blues say the measure is needed because Chen is subverting the popular will by stalling on efforts to end the ban on direct links.

Beijing's offers -- made during opposition leaders' visits to China this spring -- have included concessions on trade and other issues.

The Procedural Committee meeting on Tuesday will decide whether to put the bill on the agenda of the Oct. 25 plenary legislative session.

The DPP says the bill is illegal and would usurp the president's constitutional authority.

Under the proposed bill, a committee of academics and officials -- appointed by political parties in proportion to their numbers in the legislature -- would handle negotiations with China and decide on major issues related to China.