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Tue, Jul 03, 2001 - Page 3 News List

KMT debates Lien's `confederation'

POLICY BATTLE There was heated discussion in the KMT's Central Advisory Council meeting about making a cross-strait confederation part of the party's platform

STAFF WRITER

Not everyone in the KMT is behind chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) idea to establish a "cross-strait confederation" as a prelude to eventual unification with China.

A draft of the KMT's policy platform -- which sets the establishment of a confederation as the goal of cross-strait relations -- triggered heated debate in a meeting of the party's Central Advisory Council yesterday.

Senior party members, led by former premier Lee Huan (李煥), expressed their disapproval of including the confederation proposal in the party's policy platform, saying it goes against the Guidelines for National Unification.

The draft, which has been written in line with Lien's proposal, is being presented for discussion within the KMT for a consensus.

The 16th national congress scheduled for July 29 will also discuss the issue.

Lee, chairman of the council, said that the KMT should put the plan on hold until the definition of "confederation" is further clarified and becomes acceptable to the people.

Lee said most people have the impression that a confederation is an organization similar to the British Commonwealth. He added that by supporting the establishment of such an organization, Taiwan would essentially be foregoing its goal of unifying with China.

But Su Chi (蘇起), convener of the national security section under the KMT's think tank, a former chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and the one who drafted the policy platform, said that a confederation is an organization that ranges somewhere between a federation and a commonwealth.

Different from the British Commonwealth, a confederation enjoys a higher level of flexibility and can be an alternative to independence or "one country, two systems," Su said.

Su said that since the DPP took power, polls have shown that the support for China's one country, two systems has risen.

Su said that this is because the DPP has not put forth its cross-strait policy, causing the people to lose faith in the government. By raising the confederation proposal, the KMT can put itself in a middle-of-the-road position, Su argued.

Liang Su-yung (梁肅戎), another council chairman, said the KMT should spell out its goal of "unification with China" in the policy platform, in addition to the establishment of a confederation before unification.

Liang also criticized former KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for saying relations between China and Taiwan were "special state-to-state" in nature.

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