Thu, Dec 02, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen says Taiwan, US should foster trust

EXCHANGING PLEASANTRIES President Chen Shiu-bian yesterday expressed his gratitude for the US welcoming his explanation of his stand on constitutional reform

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN CHANGHUA COUNTY

Acknowledging the US' statement welcoming his remarks concerning his push for constitutional reform, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed gratitude and appealed for more mutual trust and less suspicion between Taiwan and the US.

Chen made the remarks after US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Tuesday said that the US government welcome Chen's assurance on Monday to stick to his "four noes" promise.

"I've noticed the welcoming statement made by the US government with regard to my remarks about constitutional reform. Apart from expressing my gratitude, I hope we all would hold mutual trust and not harbor any sort of suspicions," Chen said while receiving visiting Utah Governor Olene Walker and her husband at the Presidential Office.

During the meeting with his US visitors yesterday, Chen reaffirmed his commitments to uphold his pledges made in his inaugural speech this year and in his Oct. 10 National Day address.

Chen reiterated that the biggest mission he takes upon himself is to normalize cross-strait relations during his term in office, as well as to pursue permanent peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Chen noted that there are at least 610 missiles deployed by China along its southeastern coast and aimed at Taiwan, and that the number of missiles are growing at the rate of 120 missiles per year.

Chen told his US visitors that Taiwan, other than working to enhance its military capability with the proposal of an arms procurement budget to the legislature, also hoped that the two sides of the Strait can reopen negotiation and engage in dialogue.

Should the pan-green camp win the majority in the legislative elections, it would promote the chances of reopening cross-strait negotiations, Chen said, adding that the next two years will be the key two years in this regard.

A former member of Utah's constitutional reform committee, Walker told Chen that she understood the difficulties of dealing with such matters and that she admired the effort Chen put in to push for constitutional reform.

Later last night, Chen took the stage at a campaign rally in Changhua County, stumping for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidates.

Chen, who is also the DPP's chairman, told the crowd that he would be a lame duck if the pan-greens do not end up controlling the new legislature.

Chen appealed to voters for support so that the DPP, together with its political ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), could "achieve its goal of winning a stable pan-green majority in the new legislature and secure greater progress in reform."

At the venue, Chen also took the time to introduce the constituency's legislative candidates one by one, endorsing each of the five DPP legislative hopefuls.

Apart from Chen, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and Changhua County Commissioner Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) of the DPP also attended the rally.

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