Fri, Feb 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen will not change Taiwan's name

COMMON DENOMINATOR The president distanced himself from his previous calls to change the name of the nation, saying everyone had different ideas about the issue

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that his previous calls to change the names of government agencies so that they contained "Taiwan" and to undertake constitutional reform did not conflict with the 10-point consensus he reached with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday.

Chen made the remarks in response to queries about whether he would still pursue his campaign promises regarding changing the names of state-run companies and embarking on constitutional reform, in view of the 10-point consensus' agreement that the "Republic of China is both sides' greatest common denominator."

"The name change spoken of by A-bian may in fact be different from the definition given it by some others," said Chen, referring to himself in the third person by his nickname, as he often does.

"We need to be frank that, to some people, the definition of rectifying the national name simply and strictly means changing the nation's official title," Chen said at a news conference which was held following his two-hour meeting with Soong.

"But I have stressed several times in my speeches, including my inauguration speech last May, of my pledges on `the four noes and one not,'" Chen said. "I will not change the country's national title during my term in office."

"Some people may be disappointed by that," Chen said in the joint news conference with Soong. "But as the national leader, I know there is no consensus between the ruling and opposition parties, and the situation does not permit us to change the name of the country at the moment, or even during the rest of my term."

With that said however, Chen went on and noted that "except on the issue of changing the country's official name, other matters -- based on the principle of "Taiwan First," or safeguarding Taiwanese consciousness and avoiding confusion with China -- we feel still that there are areas that can be considered for making some adjustments."

As far as the issue on constitutional reform is concerned, Chen said "one should not dwell on the wording, whether it is constitutional reconstruction or constitutional amendment."

Chen reiterated that his push for constitutional reform would go according to the procedures stated in the current Constitution, and that such reform would not touch upon issues on national territory, unification or independence.

Soong, referring to his visit to the US last month, said that US officials had exchanged views with him during his visit and had expressed the hope that "Taiwan not undertake name-rectification, which would be a nuisance to everyone."

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