Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen and DPP retaliate against PRC legislation

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday blasted China's drafting of an "anti-secession law," which he called an attempt to alter the cross-strait "status quo" and obstruct the nation's campaign for international recognition.

Later in the day, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus said it would introduce a bill defending the "sovereignty of the Republic of China [ROC]" in an act of defiance against China's move to enshrine aggression toward Taiwan in Chinese law.

Chen was addressing a ceremony marking the promotion of military personnel to the post of general in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Noting China's increase in military spending even as it refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, Chen appealed to the public to support the arms-procurement budget, which is stalled in the legislature.

The DPP caucus is seeking the support of the People First Party (PFP) to push the bill through the legislature. In return, the DPP would support a first reading for the PFP's "cross-strait peace advancement" bill and its delivery to appropriate committees for review.

"We are proposing this bill to counter China's anti-secession bill, and there shouldn't be any reason for the pan-blue camp to oppose it," DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Ker said that he would ask opposition caucuses to negotiate the matter on Monday and try to have the bill pass the Procedure Committee the following day so that it can be handled at the next legislative sitting.

The resolution states that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country neither governed by nor belonging to China. It also says that the cross-strait "status quo" cannot be changed unless the public consent to this via referendum.

The DPP's bill has not been welcomed by members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

"We definitely won't back it. If the DPP wants us to sign, they should make a new constitution first to define the ROC's status," TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said.

But it was not clear at press time if the TSU caucus had come up with a formal response, with acting chairman Huang Chung-yuan (黃宗源) saying the TSU would support the bill.

The PFP caucus, meanwhile, said it would back the bill only if the DPP added a clause opposing independence and insisting on the retention of the national title.

At the same time, PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) approved of the DPP's offer to help the "cross-strait peace advancement" bill reach legislative committees for review.

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