Thu, Dec 02, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP's Chang stresses importance of new constitution

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday told the Taipei Times in a special interview that he will reassure the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Douglas Paal, at a dinner next Monday that Taiwan will not change the general provisions of the Constitution, and that the government will not contradict President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) five pledges when it conducts its constitutional reform.

"I will elaborate on the significance of a constitution applicable to Taiwan's future competitiveness and development," Chang said.

"The current Constitution was enacted in China in 1947. It neither fits in with Taiwan's present needs nor tallies with the reality of the objective environment," he said.

"If Taiwan wants to continue improving its competitiveness internationally and maintain long-term peace and stability, it is necessary for the nation to revise the Constitution," he said.

Chang said that a referendum is simply a procedure through which to accomplish constitutional reform, and promised that this procedure would never depart from the president's five pledges.

"The general provisions of the Constitution, including the coun-try's territory, official name and national flag, will also stay the same [when constitutional reform is implemented]," Chang said.

He also said that he had originally made this commitment to Paal one week before the presidential election on March 20, while the president later repeated it in his inaugural speech on May 20.

"We hope that the US State Department understands this and that this would change their misgivings about Taiwan's intentions," Chang said.

Meanwhile, Chang said that some of the nation's international friends could confuse the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) appeals to "change the country's name and write a new constitution" with those of the DPP, and that this could cause misunderstandings.

"Taiwan is a democratic society tolerating diverse opinions and all the people are free to express their own beliefs and viewpoints," Chang said.

"However, this doesn't mean that the TSU's platform equals the DPP's. I know clearly that they are different," he said.

Chang said that the DPP's "Resolution on Taiwan's Future" (台灣前途決議文) of 1999 established that Taiwan is an independent sovereign state whose name is "the Republic of China" and it is not a province or a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Any changes regarding this independent status quo must be collectively determined by the people of Taiwan through a plebiscite, which is clearly stipulated in the resolution, he said.

The goal that the DPP needs to achieve at present, with the TSU's cooperation in the upcoming elections, is to become the majority in the Legislative Yuan, Chang said.

"If the pan-green camp comes to form the legislative majority, I will dedicate myself to improving the efficiency of the legislature and stick to the principles of administrative neutrality," said Chang, who is planning to contend for the position of Legislative speaker in February.

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