Sun, Jun 13, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Reconciliation is vital, Chien says

COOLING PASSIONS The Control Yuan president told a group of Washington-based journalists healing the divisions caused by the March election was essential

CNA , Washington

Wise Taiwan politicians should take effective measures to promote national reconciliation, Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien (錢復) said in Washington Friday.

Chien, who attended the state funeral of the late US President Ronald Reagan on behalf of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) earlier in the day, made the appeal while meeting with a group of Taiwan journalists stationed in the US capital.

Chien, a former career diplomat who served as the Taiwan's minister of foreign affairs from 1990 through 1996, encountered a demonstration launched by supporters of Taiwan's opposition "pan-blue alliance" when he arrived in Washington on Thursday as President Chen's special envoy to Reagan's funeral.

The "pan-blue alliance" ticket of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) lost to incumbent President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) by a razor-thin margin of 29,518 votes, or 0.228 percent of the more than 13 million ballots cast in the March 20 presidential election.

Lien and Soong have so far refused to concede defeat and have filed two lawsuits to challenge the Chen-Lu ticket's re-election victory and to demand an annulment of the election so that a new one can be held.

With Chen's consent, a full-scale judicial recount of the ballots cast in the bitterly fought election has been completed. No solid evidence has been found to back up the alliance's claim that the election was rigged. The Taiwan High Court has yet to mete out rulings on the two law suits.

Chien said the election outcome indicates that Taiwan society has become polarized, a situation similar to that faced by Reagan during the early days of his eight-year presidency. When Reagan took the helm in January 1981, Chien said, US society was still covered by the shadows of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal of the previous decade.

In the face of a divided society, Chien said, it's imperative that politicians use wisdom to promote national reconciliation and heel the wounds and rifts.

As the head of the nation's supreme watchdog body, Chien said he is not in a position to talk about domestic political issues, such as how to achieve national reconciliation.

Nevertheless, Chien mentioned that President Chen had already declared in his May 20 inaugural speech that he would not push for changes to the national title and flag while carrying out constitutional reforms during his second term to avoid provoking China.

During a meeting late last month with senior executives of foreign financial groups with interests in Taiwan, Chien said, President Chen had reaffirmed his commitment to no provocation to Beijing.

As to the post-election disputes, Chien said the Control Yuan has formed a special task force to investigate why relevant government authorities had failed to take effective measures to prevent the occurrence of the March 19 shooting of President Chen and Vice President Lu, whether there was a national security mechanism to be activated in an emergency situation like the post-March 19 shooting, and whether the simultaneous holding of a nationwide referendum on the presidential election day had caused any problems to the presidential election itself.

Starting in July, Chien said, the Control Yuan team will publish a series of comprehensive investigative reports on all those issues.

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