Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP slams `cheap, blind' opponents of arms deal

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun defends the government's NT$610.8 billion arms procurement plan while speaking at the Civil Service Development Institute yesterday to a group of civil servants joining national development programs launched by the Executive Yuan.

PHOTO: CHEN TSEH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday released publicity material in an attempt to convince the public to support the US weapons procurement plan, stressing that only when Taiwan has strengthened its defenses will true peace exist in the Taiwan Strait.

"Those retired military officers who decided to take to the street to protest the arms procurement plans turned a blind eye to the fact that China has raised its military budget at a double-digit growth rate over the past 14 years," Hsu Shu-fen (許淑芬), head of the DPP's Chinese Affairs Department said yesterday in the news conference.

The DPP literature is presented in a Q&A format.

"I urged the public not to be blind, cheap pacifists," Hsu said. "Those who protested the arms procurement plans hold a double standard in arms development between Taiwan and China -- and is especially unfair to people living in central and southern Taiwan, who are more exposed to China's missiles."

DPP Legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) yesterday said that the government's arms procurement plan originated from the defense plan designed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) when it ruled the country.

"We hope the KMT did not lose its sense of responsibility in protecting Taiwan just because it lost power," Kuo said.

Another DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chuang (李文忠) also urged the pan-blue camp not to boycott the arms procurement plan because of their disapproval of the president, characterizing them as "pathetic and untenable."

"Only by preparing for war can we stop war; only by preparing for war can we have real peace," Lee said, adding that Taiwan has to show its determination in protecting itself. Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑), deputy director of DPP's Policy Research and Coordinating Committee, pointed out that anti-arms procurement groups who claimed that an arms race will result in a cross-strait war were misguided.

Liang said that an effective strategy in preventing war is to maintain equal strength with the nation's adversaries.

"This is the attitude that practical pacifists should hold," Liang said. "History tells us that a small country without military strength often becomes the target of a stronger country."

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