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Mon, May 15, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Lee says Chen `too soft' with China

WORD TO THE WISE Members of a new DPP subgroup visited the President yesterday to hear his views on the presidency and how to deal resolutely with Beijing

By Hung Chen-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Outgoing President Lee Teng- hui (李登輝) yesterday told DPP legislators that President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) must be tough with China and give priority to Taiwanese interests in his May 20 inaugural speech.

"China will be weaker if Taiwan is tougher, otherwise, China will be stronger if Taiwan expresses too much goodwill," Lee told members of the Mainstream Coalition (主流聯盟), a newly formed coalition made up of four DPP factions yesterday. The coalition paid a visit to Lee at his home in Hone Shee Villa yesterday.

The group met with Lee, whose presidency ends in less than a week, for more than an hour. Lee expressed his concern that Chen was being too soft to China these days.

According to the DPP's legislative caucus leader Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清), Lee insisted it is ineffective and unnecessary for Chen to become soft on cross-strait issues.

Lee stressed his own negotiating experience with China and said that his declaration of "special state-to-state relations (特殊國與國關係)" was not a casual statement, but instead had originated from academics' long-term research and profound understanding of China.

Lee told DPP legislators that all he has done during his terms as president was struggle for Taiwan's survival and dignity.

During the meeting, Lee indicated for the first time that he would write a book which will detail his interactions with his predecessor Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) to clarify rumors and misunderstandings regarding their relationship. Lee said the book would be published within half a year after he leaves office.

Commenting on the recent topic of re-election of legislative speakers, Lee expressed his hope that the move would be put off for now to allow for stable operations in the legislature. Most of the DPP's lawmakers agreed with Lee.

In fact, major members of the Mainstream Coalition expressed their opposition to a proposed re-election set for before May 20 at last week's DPP legislative caucus meeting.

The coalition -- made up of the Justice Alliance, the Welfare State Alliance, the Independence Union and New Energy -- is believed to be the DPP's largest faction, consisting of 41 legislators. Such a union will be helpful for the DPP to reduce its number of split groups from six to three. Another two factions known as New Tide and New Century have vowed to maintain the status quo.

Coalition member Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said it would be easy for the DPP to reach a consensus after the integration of factions, which will benefit interaction between the new government and the Legislative Yuan.

The coalition began operating after its integration session on May 13 at the Hone Shee Villa. The session reached a conclusion that four factions, which were regarded as individually loose organizations, will form a formal faction and cooperate with other parties and sub-groups case by case in the legislature.

Meanwhile, New Tide leader Hung Chi-chang (洪奇昌) and New Energy leader Chou Po-lun (周伯倫) said the new coalition was welcome. But they had reservations about its smooth operation in the future.

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