Fri, May 14, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Activists warn against `five noes'

STAY AWAY!A pro-independence group yesterday said President Chen Shui-bian should not reiterate his `five noes' pledge in his inauguration speech, or face reprisals

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the pro-independence Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) yesterday warned President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) not to reiterate his "five noes" pledge in his inauguration speech, or face counter attacks as a consequence.

TAUP Chairman Wang To-far (王塗發), an economics professor at National Taipei University, yesterday said Chen should not bow to US pressure to repeat his "five noes" pledge, which would undermine the goal to build Taiwan into a normal and independent country.

"Presidential advisor Koo Kuan-min (辜寬敏) told Chen that he would leave the inauguration ceremony immediately if he hears Chen mention the `five noes' pledge. The TAUP will organize an emergency group to monitor Chen's inauguration speech. If we also hear Chen speak of it on May 20, we will decide on our counter measures," Wang told a press conference.

At his swearing-in ceremony four years ago, Chen made five promises, including that he would not declare independence or change the nation's title.

The US has been hinting that Chen should reaffirm the five promises after winning the March 20 presidential election. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said last month that Washington wanted Chen to restate his "five noes" pledge in his May 20 speech.

Wang yesterday said that "Taiwan is not a state of the US, and the US can't prescribe what Taiwan should do. Taiwan should take care of its own national interests."

Wang said Chen is a president elected by the 23 million people of Taiwan and he should not dictate the people's will by unilaterally deciding that he won't push for independence.

"Chen's victory in the March 20 presidential election represents the consolidation of Taiwan's national identity. Chen's re-election happened not because Chen did well with his four-year administration; rather, it was because of the development of a Taiwan-centered awareness," Wang said.

Examination Yuan member Chang Cheng-shuh (張正修), also a member of TAUP, said Chen should not bind himself to the "five noes" pledge, which has contradicted Chen's theory that China and Taiwan are "one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait."

Chang said Chen should live up to his campaign promises to rewrite the Constitution by 2006 and further reforms to ensure Taiwan's status as an independent sovereign country.

"We urge Chen not to speak of `five noes' pledges again, because it might cause legal problems; that is, if Chen fails to deliver on his campaign promises, he would have to face the consequences of political responsibility, which could mean impeachment," Chang said.

"Such an impeachment won't come from his pan-blue rivals but from Chen's own staunch pan-green supporters," he said.

The TAUP was not the only group warning Chen. In recent days, many pro-independence heavyweights expressed similar concerns and urged Chen to avoid the "five noes" promises in his inaugural speech.

Senior presidential adviser Koo Kuan-min (辜寬敏) visited Chen on Wednesday to make the same appeal. He said the "five noes" pledge overrides Chen's authority as a president and hinders Taiwan's democratic development and the process of becoming a "normal" country.

Koo said Chen is still considering whether to mention the "five noes" pledge in his speech. He predicted that Chen will not speak of it at the inauguration ceremony.

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