Sat, May 15, 2004 - Page 4 News List

DPP's constitutional expert suggests Chen ditch `five noes' in second term

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will ditch the "five noes" promise he made in his inauguration speech in 2000, according to Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧), the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) top constitutional expert and one of Chen's gurus.

"I am glad that President Chen told foreign guests he will display creativity in his inauguration speech to gain the understanding of the international community," the retired National Taiwan University law professor said yesterday. "I believe it means that he will neither mention the `five noes' in the May 20 inauguration speech nor talk about it in the next four years," he said.

Lee, who is authorized by Chen to lead a task force for drawing up a new Constitution, stressed that the situation right now is completely different from four years ago and so Chen should not make such a promise that would degrade Taiwan's dignity. He said he would quit if Chen reiterated the promises, which include not changing the nation's name or declaring independence.

"During the period of power transfer in 2000, Chen had to ease the international community's serious concerns about Taiwan's security as well as deal with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which still manipulated its giant party mechanism, military leaders and government officials after half a century in power," Lee said.

"President Chen had to make some concessions to pass the critical moment," Lee said. "If we seriously reviewed the contents of the `five noes,' which was built on the basis of China's renouncing the threat to use military force against Taiwan, we will find that the `five noes' were actually nonsense because China continued to increase its ballistic missile deployments as well as enhance military threats targeting Taiwan.

"China even detests the name Republic of China -- Taiwan's official title at the moment. Therefore, the `five noes' promise actually does not exist, because its precondition has not been accepted by the Beijing authorities," he said.

Asked what he would do if Chen mentions the "five noes" in his inauguration speech next Thursday, Lee said, "I will immediately quit the Constitutional task force."

Lee's advice echoed Senior Presidential Advisor Koo Kuan-min's (辜寬敏) remarks on Wednesday.

Lee spoke yesterday as he became president of the Ketagalan Institute, a talent-cultivating center created by Chen. He took over from Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), a former secretary-general to the president.

Lee said that his main mission would be to accomplish the president's campaign promise of drawing up a new constitution to replace the current one, which was promulgated more than half a century ago in China.

While pro-independence senior presidential advisors urged Chen to abandon the "five noes" pledge in his inauguration speech, other presidential advisors are urging him to reiterate them.

Eleven of them yesterday submitted a petition to Chen urging him to restate the "five noes" to break the cross-strait deadlock and repair US-Taiwan relations.

The petition, signed by Senior Presidential Advisor Po Yang (柏楊) and National Policy Advisor Hsu Wen-pin (許文彬), said Chen should reopen dialogue with China based on the constitutional framework of the current Republic of China Constitution and that Chen's plan to rewrite the Constitution should not involve changes to Taiwan's status quo or change the nation's title, flag or territory.

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