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Sun, Aug 19, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Chen fails to win pro-independence support for policy

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) efforts to seek support from the pro-independence camp for relaxing restrictions on Taiwan's cross-strait policy were in vain, as many of his advisors refused to support the relaxation of the government's "no haste, be patient" (戒急用忍) policy, local media reported.

Chen banqueted several hardline pro-independence advisors at his residence on Friday evening in an attempt to gain support for easing the restrictions on cross-strait business -- a consensus reached by the cross-strait affairs panel under the Economic Development Advisory Conference this week.

The panel's consensus is evidently in line with Chen's announcement on Tuesday that the government will replace the "no haste, be patient" policy with a policy of "pro-active openness and effective management" (積極開放, 有效管理).

Over the dinner, however, Chen failed to win support from his advisors -- including senior presidential advisors Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), Koo Kuan-min (辜寬敏), Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) and Chen Chi-sheng (陳繼盛), and national policy advisor Kao Chun-min (高俊明) -- who insisted that not only economic considerations but also political ones should be taken into account when modifying the cross-strait policy.

According to these advisors, Beijing's "one-China principle" is absolutely unacceptable and the government needs to be very careful because the Chinese government is "using business to promote re-unification."

"The DPP government should also provide positive protections for local industries to allow them to flourish in Taiwan," Koo said on Friday.

In response to the pro-independence advisors' views, DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that the government's plan to lift curbs on cross-strait business is the best way to save Taiwan's economy.

The government's statistics office on Friday announced that Taiwan's GDP figure is expected to contract 0.37 percent for the full year -- the only contraction since the government began to compile statistics in 1952.

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