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Mon, May 15, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Lu sends strong message to China on sovereignty

RETREAT At a weekend get-together, Annette Lu criticized the outgoing KMT government as corrupt and pledged to handle affairs in an open manner

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

Addressing the leadership of the new government, Vice President-elect Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday stressed Taiwan's status as an independent country and said most Taiwanese are afraid of "being unified [by China]."

Around 80 members of the new administration yesterday attended a camp on Taipei's Yangmingshan.

"We have to loudly and resolutely make it known to the whole world that the People's Republic of China has never reigned nor ruled Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan not only disagree with unification, but actually fear unification," Lu said.

She also said the new government was native-born and should create a way of thinking that captured the spirit of an "Ocean State" (海洋立國).

Mainland Affairs Council Chairperson-designate Tsai Ying-wen (蔡英文) said Lu's comments on cross-strait relations "have been our stance for a long time."

"Peaceful interactions between the two sides are important, but our fundamental stand that the ROC is an independent country cannot be discounted," Tsai said.

However, she said that the idea of an "Ocean State" is a philosophic one and with concrete mainland policy "there is distance in between."

Annette Lu also said that while most people do not want drastic change, they are on the other hand weary of a perfunctory and conservative government. She called on the new government to speed up reforms.

She criticized the outgoing KMT regime of being corrupt and of alienating itself from the people of Taiwan.

However, many members in the new Cabinet -- some of whom are KMT party members -- looked embarrassed when listening to her comments.

"We hope that our officials do not discuss business and make under-the-table dealings around a small white ball," Lu said, referring to the prevalence of political deals worked out by many politicians -- including President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- at the golf range or club.

She said that herself and President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) both have "four no's": "No golfing, no drinking [alcohol], no smoking and no mahjong."

"These are mere trivialities. But if we drink less and don't smoke, isn't it also a kind of governmental renovation?" Lu said.

DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) also expressed hope that practices within official circles would improve.

However, Lin poked fun at Lu's comments saying, if incoming DPP officials "didn't drink, smoke or play mahjong to make friends with locals, the DPP could lose the next election."

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