President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is set to meet today with party heads and legislative leaders to discuss the battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), but opposition heads have decided not to show up.
"Since the meeting is professional not political in nature, we thought it'd be better for medical specialists to attend," said KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元).
Tsai said that the party will send its Vice Chairwoman Helen Lin (林澄枝), who is a member of the party's epidemic prevention task force; Yang Chih-liang (楊志良), former vice director-general of the Department of Health; and Legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), who is also the executive director of the party's Central Policy Committee, to attend the meeting.
The PFP will dispatch Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄), who was a cardiologist, to attend the meeting.
TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), who is also the office manager of the TSU legislative caucus, yesterday confirmed that TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文), who was returning from an overseas trip, will attend today's meeting.
"We recognize the president's efforts and hope our contribution will help the nation battle the SARS outbreak," Lo said.
Lo also expressed the party's wish that the president will activate the national epidemic prevention emergency system after the meeting.
Refusing to comment on the KMT's and PFP's decision, Chiou said "the invitations were addressed to party leaders."
In addition to KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Huang, the Presidential Office invited New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), DPP Secretary General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), and Convenor of the legislature's Alliance of Independent Lawmakers Walis Pelin (瓦歷斯貝林).
According to James Huang (黃志芳), spokesman of the Presidential Office, during today's high-level national security meeting, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Executive Yuan will present reports and discuss the impact of SARS.
The president expects to listen to the opinion and ideas of party and legislative leaders about how to resolve the negative impact of SARS on the country.