Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Lien blasts Chen over referendum

FIGHTING WORDS The KMT chairman attacked the president for refusing a poll on independence, despite Chen's continued pledges to never do such a thing

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan, right, yesterday helps pump air into a balloon when stumping for People First Party Legislator Diane Lee who hopes to win re-election in the December legislative elections.

PHOTO: WANG YIH-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Expressing his satisfaction that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not accept his challenge Saturday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said yesterday that it was "to be expected" that Chen did not have the nerve to hold a referendum on Taiwan's independence.

Accusing Chen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of using an ever-changing position on Taiwan's national status and title to deceive the Taiwanese people, Lien challenged Chen on Saturday to put his money where his mouth was and hold a "unification [or] independence" referendum on the day of the legislative elections on Dec. 11.

In response, Chen told supporters Saturday night in Taitung County that there was no legal basis for such a referendum and that he would not be provoked into a response.

Lien pointed to Chen's refusal as proof that the president is cheating the Taiwanese people and does not intend to take action, despite his previous position of the existence of "one country on either side" of the Taiwan Strait, and of Taiwan as a sovereign nation.

"Chen is not cut from that kind of cloth," Lien said yesterday morning at a rally for KMT legislative candidate Apollo Chen (陳學聖) in Taipei, implying that the president is not the kind of person who means what he says.

The pan-blue camp has long claimed that Chen and his administration have been unclear on their position regarding Taiwan's sovereignty and national title. The pan-blues have long blasted Chen's remarks in 2002 that the relationship between Taiwan and China is best described as one between "one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait," and his comments earlier this month that China is a "rival country," which were both moves the pan-blues see as promoting Taiwan's independence.

However, the pan-blue camp said, Chen has also maintained that he supports the "Republic of China" and the "status quo," claims that the blues say conflict with his other actions.

Chen was also misrepresenting Lien's stance on Taiwan's sovereignty, the KMT chairman said.

"Chen has distorted my words to mean that I do not support the concept of sovereignty [for Taiwan]. However, I feel that actually we should first put the issue of political sovereignty aside and focus on developing our economy and improving people's lives," Lien said yesterday.

Lien's call for a referendum to be held on Dec. 11 also received full backing from his party yesterday.

Should the DPP not "dare" to hold a referendum on independence, said Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), executive director of the KMT Central Policy Committee, yesterday, opposition parties would consider ways to arrange one.

It was unclear yesterday what outcome the pan-blues were hoping for if such a referendum were to take place.

Also see story:

Editorial:Chen can't rely on Lien's stupidity

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