In an recent interview with a foreign media outlet, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) reiterated that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country and said that he hopes to draft a new constitution to normalize cross-strait relations during his second term in office. \n"I am a history maker and I have two historic missions," said Chen in an interview with the Time Asia. \n"First, I want to hand over to the 23 million Taiwan people a timely, beneficial and suitable constitution before my tenure ends in 2008," Chen said. "Second, I want to normalize cross-strait relations during my tenure, and reopen cross-strait negotiations. I hope that the two sides can engage in a dialogue for peace." \nPrefacing his position by saying that "Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country and a country in which freedom, democracy, human rights and peace are upheld and respected," Chen pointed out that "if Taiwan was not an independent country, it would not hold direct presidential elections." \nChen also stated in the interview that Taiwan "would not exclude the possibility of establishing any kind of political relationship, so long as it has the consent of its 23 million people." \nAsked if rewriting of the Constitution is tantamount to a declaration of independence, Chen said constitutional reform does not involve national sovereignty, national territory or the question of independence versus unification. He also said that those who interpret constitutional reform as a declaration of independence are making a grave mistake. \nThe constitutional-reform project is an issue of consolidating and deepening Taiwan's democracy, Chen said. \n"Beijing's authorities distort our process of democratization and call it a move toward formal independence," Chen said. \nChen also added that in the time between his May 20 inauguration speech and his National Day address, Taiwan "extended more than 30 olive branches [to Beijing]." \n"We will take whatever actions are needed to improve cross-strait relations and to ensure permanent peace across the strait. Even though the other side has never responded with good will over four-plus years, we are not giving up," he said. \nNoting that the US government had told him in private that they welcomed his National Day speech and that Beijing would react to his goodwill, Chen said "the US government also asked [him] to be patient. There is still an opportunity there." \nOn the national defense front, Chen stressed the necessity for Taiwan to build up sufficient self-defense capabilities. \n"Regarding our purchasing of Patriot PAC-III anti-missile system, China accuses Taiwan of being provocative and of attempting to disturb peace across the Taiwan Strait," Chen said. \n"Most people in the world have forgotten, however, that China has deployed 610 ballistic missiles along its southeastern coast targeting Taiwan and that these missiles are increasing at a rate of about 50 to 70 per year," Chen said. \nWhile the interview won't appear in Time Asia until its Nov. 15 issue, the magazine posted the transcript of the interview on its Web site. \nMeanwhile, in a recent interview with the Economist, opposition Chinese Nationalist Party Lien Chan (連戰) claimed that Chen is aggressively pushing for Taiwan's independence and has a timetable for it. \nOn response to Lien's claim, the Presidential Office issued a statement stressing that the president had made clear of his stance on the country's sovereignty in his May 20 inauguration speech as well as the National Day address on Oct. 10. \nThe statement said Lien should not made groundless accusations against the president -- which may cause the public to be alarmed. Critics should not misrepresent what Chen said for personal political gain, the statement added.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and