Sat, Dec 18, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen learned from loss, ex-advisor says

RETHINKING In the wake of the pan-green setback, Chen will change the way he pursues his policy goals and try to build greater communication with the US


Despite the Democratic Progressive Party's failure to capture a majority in the legislative elections, Presi-dent Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will forge ahead with his policy goals, but will go about them in a less confrontational way, a former Chen advisor says.

Chen has "learned a lot of lessons" as a result of the legislative elections, former deputy secretary general of the National Security Council, Antonio Chiang (江春男), told the Taipei Times in Washington on Thursday.

Chen's policies "are the same as those he advocated four years ago," Chiang said. He made the comments after addressing a meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Relations think tank on Taiwan's future after the elections.

Chen will continue to pursue such policies as the rectification of the country's name, but "now, he may tone it down. The policy will be pursued in a more sophisticated, low-key way," Chiang said.

Chen will continue to seek to make Taiwan "a normal country, a democratic country," Chiang said. "Normalization is a natural consequence of democratization. Any president has to do the same. But maybe he will pursue it in a different style," Chiang said.

One result of the election, Chiang said, is that Chen will make a greater effort to improve communication with the US.

Chen's pursuit of name changes for domestic establishments and overseas representative offices and the continued effort to write a new national constitution have drawn Washington's ire. But he is aware of this, Chiang said.

"[Chen] knows what the situation is now with the United States. He knows that a lot of people in the States don't trust him, and this is quite a liability," Chiang said.

Because Chen was "trying so hard to get a majority," he got "carried away," Chiang said.

However, "he's a man who can always retreat. He can always admit defeat and hold responsibility for that, to retreat and restart. I think he will do much better to mend the trust with the United States," in the wake of the election, Chiang said.

He added that the US would not be against reforming the constitutional structure to produce a "functional constitution." But Chen will proceed "very carefully, very cautiously," in pushing the constitutional changes, Chiang said.

Chen will also pursue better relations with the domestic opposition parties and with China, according to Chiang.

Earlier, in his presentation, Chiang said that Chen's "dream" has been to "become a peacemaker with China. That would be his legacy. He will work hard for that goal in the remaining years in office."

"Chen is not an ideological zealot. He is a committed liberal," Chiang said. He cares less about Taiwan's independence than the right of Taiwanese people to "have the right to chose their destiny without outside interference or coercion."

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