Sat, Oct 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Battle rages in Legislative Yuan over unification

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun stressed that there was no change in US policy toward Taiwan or in US-Taiwan relations, while he admitted he was "surprised" upon hearing US Secretary of the State Colin Powell's remarks on Tuesday.

"Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state. Powell has also clarified his remarks when he was interviewed again after he went back to the US. The US' policy toward Taiwan hasn't changed, and the cross-strait issue should be resolved peacefully," Yu said when questioned by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chui-chen (邱垂貞) yesterday.

But when speaking to the media later, Yu admitted that he was "surprised" when Powell made the remarks about unification.

"I had read the briefing US officials gave our representative office before Powell went to China, and the briefing didn't mention anything about what he said [regarding unification] in China," Yu said.

"The whole government -- including me -- did not get hold of any precise information on Powell's remarks beforehand, and we will review and reflect on that," Yu said.

"I was surprised by Powell's remarks, but now he has cleared up what he meant," Yu said.

Powell's remarks raised the ire of officials in Taiwan over the past few days, and yesterday the People First Party (PFP) caucus and the pan-green caucuses also argued over the possibility of a "peaceful resolution" of cross-strait relations.

The three PFP caucus whips, together with other PFP lawmakers, visited all the caucuses yesterday promoting a draft statute regarding peace in cross-strait relations, which the PFP hopes to pass in the Procedure Committee next week.

The draft statute stipulates that an ad-hoc committee should be established which would engage in negotiations with China about peace in cross-strait relations.

While the statute received support from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus, the DPP caucus disagreed with the statute, arguing that pushing through the statute governing the special arms deal with the US would be the first step toward ensuring peace.

Also, the PFP failed to visit the TSU caucus at the appointed time, and the TSU was offended as a result.

TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) rushed down to the DPP caucus office when he realized that the PFP caucus whips had skipped the TSU.

Chen then shouted at the PFP caucus whips in the DPP caucus office.

"You'd better make it clear whether you want unification or independence!" Chen shouted.

Then, an unidentified PFP lawmaker shouted back, "The TSU should stop promoting independence!"

Chen soon left, but the discussion by the PFP and the DPP didn't make any progress.

"The statute is impractical and it violates the power of the administration. It also may be unconstitutional so the DPP caucus won't support it," DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said, in response the PFP caucus' request.

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