Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Soong follows Lien in jumping on the farmer bandwagon

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following in the footsteps of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday accepted an invitation to join a demonstration of farmers and fishermen scheduled for Nov. 23.

Also, Soong said the PFP is ready to form a supra-partisan "rescue Taiwan alliance" that will gather the elite of different political affiliations to try and oust the DPP from power in 2004.

Soong said he will speak up for farmers and fishermen, because the DPP has not only ignored their interests but is also trying to "eliminate farmers' and fishermen's associations under the pretense of financial reform."

"Farmers were the ones who laid the foundation of Taiwan's economic miracle in the past. The DPP should not negate the contribution of farmers' and fishermen's associations," Soong said.

Though former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) promised to establish an NT$100 billion "agricultural development fund" to help local farmers cope with the impact of Taiwan's accession to the WTO, the DPP has not carried out this policy after coming to power, Soong said.

While approximately 70 percent of the profit of credit cooperatives of farmers' associations are spent on promoting agricultural development, the DPP has painted the associations as a source of "black-gold" politics in Taiwan, Soong said.

Soong further criticized the DPP for its incompetence and inefficiency over the past two-and-a-half years in power, which he said has triggered a "lame duck" effect.

"The country is virtually in anarchy. We don't have a president now, but only a presidential candidate. We don't have a government, but only a campaign headquarters," Soong said.

To support his argument, Soong cited a recent case in which the pro-independence-minded national policy adviser, Alice King (金美齡), said she finds the sight of the ROC flag offensive.

Though Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟) defended King in the legislature on Monday, saying that people should not equate the ROC flag with the country, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) affirmed on Tuesday that the "national flag and the name of the country" both symbolize the country.

"If the secretary-general of the Presidential Office does not represent the president, who then does he represent when he speaks in the legislature? Does the speech made by a national policy adviser hired by the president not represent the basic policy of the government?" Soong asked.

Soong said it is the most important thing for the leader of the government to present a clear policy for the country.

To prepare for the 2004 presidential race, Soong said, the PFP is ready to gather the elite of different political affiliations to form a "rescue Taiwan alliance."

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