Fri, Dec 27, 2002 - Page 2 News List

`One China' a relic of war, Lee says

By Lin Mei-Chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chin Heng-wei, left, chairs the first in a series of seminars on the National Program for Taiwan in the 21st Century yesterday. Participants include former president Lee Teng-hui, second left, National Policy Adviser to the President Michael Hsiao, second right, and director of the Institute of European and American Studies at Academia Sinica Lin Cheng-Yi.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday denied the existence of "one China," saying is an outdated concept based on the civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party.

Given that the war is over, the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) were abolished in 1991 and the KMT is no longer in power, "there is no longer an issue of `one China,'" Lee said.

Lee also rejected the existence of the so-called "1992 consensus," which states two sides agree that there is "one China, with each side having its own interpretation."

While the KMT has urged the government to use the consensus to resume cross-strait dialogue on technical matters while temporarily shelving political issues, the DPP has questioned the existence of such a consensus.

Lee, who was leader of the country at the time the so-called consensus was reached, denies the KMT's claims.

"There is no such thing. Even I know nothing about it. What the KMT claims is utterly irrelevant as it is not a ruling party," Lee said.

The former president sought to shed light on the controversial notion and state the importance of forging a clear national identity while taking part in a program on TTV held by Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), a political observer and editor in chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.

Lee took the opportunity to pay his respects to late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in an attempt to quell opposition from the KMT and Chiang's family members after Lee earlier criticized a recruitment policy carried out by his predecessor.

Dubbing Chiang "a remarkable political leader," Lee said Chiang had set the foundation for Taiwan's democratic development and it would be unfair for him alone to receive all the credit.

Lee said he had learned a lot about how to rule the country from Chiang and had vowed to adhere to his principles when he took over the presidency in 1988.

He said the concept of "New Taiwanese" was introduced as a result of Chiang's influence because, though a mainlander, Chiang had always considered himself Taiwanese.

On Sunday Lee said Chiang was seeking to consolidate his power when he started to recruit native Taiwanese in the government in the 1970s.

As one of Chiang's targets, Lee said he "felt used" when serving as a minister without portfolio.

Lee said yesterday that he didn't mean to criticize Chiang.

In the early 1970s, then-premier Chiang carried out a policy of recruiting a large number of younger Taiwanese into the KMT and the government, which was then dominated by old-guard KMT exiles from China.

The movement indirectly triggered the onset of localization in the KMT.

Political leaders such as Lee, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), former Judicial Yuan president Lin Yang-kang (林洋港) and former Judicial Yuan president Shih Chi-yang (施啟揚) are among the group.

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