Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

`Never' was yesterday for legislator who insulted Paal

NEVER MIND Lin Chung-mo, who had earlier refused to back off his characterization of the AIT director as a `vicious dog,' yesterday decided the dog wasn't so vicious after all

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cameramen fall down at a press conference held yesterday by DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo, center, who apologized for calling Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, a ``vicious dog.''

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMESN

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) apologized yesterday for calling Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, a "vicious dog" during a legislative session on Monday.

Lin, who had originally planned a press conference to condemn Paal's alleged snobbish behavior and to call for the replacement of the top US diplomat in Taiwan, eventually bowed to DPP pressure to say he was sorry to Paal.

The press conference, scheduled for 10am, was delayed for nearly 40 minutes. Lin, accompanied by two DPP caucus whips -- Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) -- and another DPP legislator, Trong Tsai (蔡同榮), reversed his earlier vow that he would "never" apologize to Paal.

"I apologize for my recent remarks, which have resulted in misunderstanding on the part of the US government. For the sake of our national interest, I offer my apologies," Lin said.

Without mentioning Paal's name, Lin and the other three legislators concluded the press conference in less than 20 seconds and walked out of the pressroom.

A reporter shouted a question to Lin: "Are you apologizing under pressure from the DPP caucus?"

Lin snapped back: "Who can bring me to my knees?" before leaving the room.

Before the press conference, Lin and the other three DPP legislators had shut themselves up in the DPP caucus' office at the Legislative Yuan to discuss Lin's statements about Paal. The press conference was originally supposed to have been called: "Replace Paal if You Want the Legislature to Pass the Defense Budget."

Lin was referring to the Cabinet's proposed NT$610.8 billion (US$18.25 billion) appropriation for purchasing arms from the US. The proposal is yet to be passed in the legislature and Lin apparently believed that the budget request had been made under pressure from the US.

Paal was not available for comments on Lin's apology, but it was rumored that the diplomat had complained to the Presidential Office about Lin's behavior.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) and Bill Sun (孫國華), who talked to Paal briefly at the opening of the Foreign Service Institute's new building on Thursday, said Paal was very unhappy about Lin's insult.

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