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Mon, Sep 17, 2001 - Page 2 News List

US commitment to unity sets example for Taiwan, says Lee

DEMOCRATIC MODEL The solidarity that US lawmakers have shown this past week in the face of terrorist attacks is a model for Taiwan to follow, Lee Teng-hui said yesterday

By Lin Chieh-yu and William Ide  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN TAICHUNG AND TAIPEI

Former president Lee Teng-hui waves to the crowd at a TSU fundraising banquet yesterday.


Taiwan could learn a great deal about unity from the US and its response to last week's terrorist attacks, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday.

"Look at the US. At its most difficult moment, members of the Congress, regardless of party affiliation, have all joined together. ... That is what a democratic country should be like," Lee told members of the Board of Industrial Park Manufacturers Federation at a luncheon yesterday.

"Taiwan, on the other hand, is nothing like that," Lee said. "The lawmakers just act out skits like they are a part of some big drama and I have no idea what drama they think they are acting in. This type of behavior will only create fear and cause people to worry about our future.

"If you ask me, I am afraid for Taiwan's future," Lee said.

While President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should have the power to lead the country, the legislature has stood in his way, he added.

"Some parties and some people are purposely pulling President Chen down to see whether he will collapse. What kind of attitude is that?" Lee asked.

"The only thing that these politicians dream about is getting back their power and becoming the next president. While Taiwan is in economic recession we cannot allow this chaos to continue."

Yesterday's luncheon was arranged by Huang Tzung-yuan (黃宗源), president of the manufacturers' association, and the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

DPP candidate for Taichung City Mayor Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲) was also in attendance.

Lee also defended his "no haste, be patient" policy yesterday, responding to recent comments made by Formosa Plastics tycoon Wang Yung-ching (王永慶).

Lee said the policy had its time and purpose, but it wasn't responsible for driving Taiwan's economy into its current quagmire as Wang had claimed.

"The policy was made to help protect Taiwan's high-tech and infrastructure industries. Under the `no haste, be patient' policy, Taiwan's economic growth was stable and people were still making money," Lee said.

Lee also said he wasn't opposed to investment in China.

"I am not opposed to people making money in China. I encourage businessmen to make money everywhere in the world, but to be careful," Lee said.

He did, however, take issue with the government's timing of relaxing restrictions imposed by the policy, which limits investments to US$50 million and bans certain types of investments in China.

"The problem is that now -- at a time when you need blood -- you are still drawing blood and giving it to someone else," Lee said.

"The only thing that we can count on is China's cheaper labor. However, labor salaries will rise in China in the near future and they will experience the same problems Taiwan is experiencing right now.

"Taiwan should focus on improving our infrastructure industries and improving our investment environment rather than just moving our roots to China," he said.

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