Wed, May 19, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chen to speak on constitutional reform

INAUGURAL ADDRESS Joseph Wu said the president will focus on reforming the government and legislature

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen shakes hands with Straits Exchange Foundation Vice Chairman Shi Hwei-yow at her farewell tea party yesterday.


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will give details of the constitutional reform agenda slated for 2006 in his inauguration speech tomorrow, Mainland Affairs Council chairman-designate Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

Wu, currently deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, said during a news conference for foreign reporters covering the inauguration that reforming the government structure and the legislature will be key issues the new constitution aims to deal with.

The strong worded statement on Taiwan which Beijing issued on Monday, condemning Chen's alleged separatists actions such as referendums and calling for a new constitution, shows that China does not understand Taiwan's democratization process, Wu said.

According to Wu, the current five-branch system of government has not functioned efficiently and needs to be changed.

When asked whether Chen will repeat his "five noes" pledge in tomorrow's speech, Wu said Chen's inaugural address will follow the spirit of the one he made four years ago

Voicing concern about the escalation of China's military power, Wu said Taiwan needs to strengthen its own military capacity by procuring more weapons and cooperating with the US.

China has been developing and modernizing its air and naval forces and purchasing arms from Russia, Wu said, noting in China and Taiwan's case, "the stronger side may be tempted to use military force against the weaker side."

He said while misunderstandings between Beijing and Taipei exist, some of his academic friends in China, who advise the Chinese leadership about Taiwan, have been frustrated because they frequently discover that their reports have been revised by government officials reviewing the documents.

By the time the reports reach the top officials, they're unrecognizable from the original, he said.

Wu said Taiwan's independence is not an issue for the people of Taiwan, who elect their own president and legislature.

Every aspect of Taiwan will prove it an "exclusive jurisdiction," he said.

Meanwhile, outgoing council chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that the president and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are fully able to lead the people of Taiwan through all ups and downs of the cross-strait relationship.

The council held yesterday a farewell tea party for its three outgoing officials, Tsai and vice chairmen Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) and Alexander Huang (黃介正).

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