Wed, Nov 10, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Group happy at stalling of arms procurement bill

FAILURE The Democracy Action Alliance said its motives went beyond partisanship after the arms bill once again failed to make it onto the legislative agenda

CNA , TAIPEI

Members of a civic group opposed to the NT$610.8 billion (US$18 billion) special arms budget were elated yesterday after learning that the issue failed for the 10th time to be put to the legislature for discussion.

Members of the Democracy Action Alliance (DAA), which has staged a sit-in outside the Legislative Yuan since Monday afternoon to protest the budget, cheered loudly after hearing that the pan-blue alliance had again blocked the bill.

The members sang songs and threw gloves painted with anti-arms purchase slogans into the air. People First Party (PFP) legislators Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) and Lee Yung-ping (李永萍) were on hand to lend support.

Huang Kuang-kuo (黃光國), a professor and DAA convener, said that political parties have had election strategies in mind when deliberating on the arms budget, but the DAA has ideals beyond electioneering.

The group thinks that the NT$610.8 billion special budget is closely linked to cross-strait tensions, Huang said.

For this reason, the next step will be for the DAA to promote a "EU model" as a framework for cross-strait peace.

He said that the EU model is a "supra-country organization," and during the process to form a community, no one country will be "unified" by others, adding that both sides of the Taiwan Strait could start from establishing direct trade, postal and transportation links.

Huang said that the EU model is the only possible way to resolve cross-strait confrontations, adding that if a community concept can serve as a cross-strait peace framework, then Taiwan will have no need to spend astronomical sums to buy arms from the US and engage in an arms race with the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

Society will also no longer have to suffer from ethnic divisions, Huang said.

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