Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen tells Canadians he is willing to work with PFP

RAINBOW REVOLUTION?After Canadian officials gave the president an orange scarf used to symbolize Ukraine's opposition, Chen said he wanted inter-party cooperation

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday explicitly stated his willingness to cooperate with the People First Party (PFP).

Chen made the remarks yesterday when meeting a group of Canadian officials. The group was led by David Kilgour of Canada's Liberal Party, who is a member of the Canadian House of Commons. Kilgour presented Chen with an orange scarf as a gift.

The scarf, Kilgour said, was one of those that was worn in Kiev's Independence Square in Ukraine, when Ukraine's opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko hailed his supporters for playing a key part in the "orange revolution" that followed that country's disputed presidential election last November.

While the color orange was Yushchenko's campaign color, in Taiwan's political color spectrum, orange symbolizes the PFP.

"The color orange represents a different voice, and another major political party in Taiwan," the president said. "But [the pan-greens] are willing to reconcile with the orange and cooperate with the orange."

Kilgour said he obtained the orange scarf when a Canadian team was in Ukraine observing its presidential election last Tuesday, in which Yushchenko was officially declared the winner of the presidential poll.

Saying that Chen was a remarkable leader among today's democratic countries who has made a contribution to democratic development, Kilgour added that his group would like to present Chen with the orange scarf, which is a symbol of the Ukrainians' pursuit of democracy.

Chen acknowledged his awareness that the orange scarf was a symbol of Ukraine's orange revolution, and told his Canadian guests that Taiwan had had its "green revolution" in 2000, when Taiwan completed its first-ever democratic transfer of power in its history when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ended the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rule in Taiwan.

While mentioning the bitterly contested presidential election last year that resulted in two lawsuits filed by the opposition parties -- including the PFP -- Chen said that "after all this time, in the wake of the elections we feel that we should no longer differentiate among us who is green, blue or orange. We should all unite."

With that said, Chen alluded to his New Year address, in which he stressed the need for reconciliation and dialogue in the wake of last month's legislative elections.

"For the benefit of domestic politics, the welfare of the people, harmony among ethnic groups and cross-strait stability, we feel that there is nothing that can't be achieved in cooperation between the governing and the opposition parties," Chen said.

Chen also thanked the Canadian parliament for passing a resolution last year in support of Taiwan's bid to obtain observer status in the World Health Organization.

Saying that there have been growing economic and trade exchanges between Taiwan and Canada over the years, Chen noted that "regrettably, there has not been a visit made by any high-ranking Canadian officials since 1998."

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