Sun, Feb 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen-Soong consensus is `irrational', Lee says

NOT AMUSED The former president condemned Chen for meeting with the PFP chairman, hinting that he has backed away from his ideals and alienated supporters

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

Former president Lee Teng-hui points as he delivers a speech yesterday, critical of the meeting between President Chen Shui-bian and People First Party Chairman James Soong.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday expressed his disapproval with the 10-point consensus reached on Thursday between President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), calling into question the joint statement's legitimacy and legality.

The joint statement signed by "the president, who is the head of state, and the chairman of a minor party, seemed like a diplomatic statement signed between two nations," Lee said.

"Where is its legitimacy or rationality? Simply put, it was wrong," he added.

Lee made the remarks yesterday while speaking at a forum sponsored by pro-independence groups on the issue of China's proposed "anti-secession law."

Lee's remarks would be the first time since Thursday's meeting that the former president publicly expressed his view on the consensus.

The agreement was produced following the Chen-Soong meeting, in which Chen reaffirms his "four noes plus one" pledge, including no declaration of independence, no change of the nation's official name, no referendum to change the status quo of the Taiwan Strait, no inclusion of the "state-to-state" theory on cross-strait ties in the Constitution and no disbanding of the National Unification Guidelines or the National Unification Council.

Many pan-green camp supporters were shocked by the agreement and criticized Chen for "surrendering to pro-unification forces."

Lee said that he, as well as all others, should not to have objected to whatever was discussed between Chen and Soong at the meeting, which was held for the sake of political stability.

The problem with the Chen-Soong meeting, Lee said, lied in the details of the 10-point consensus.

"Does [the consensus] represent Chen's own position, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) position, the PFP's position or Chen and Soong's personal opinions?" he said.

The former president later called on the people of Taiwan to not be too nervous about the agreement.

"The democratic awareness of the Taiwanese people has improved, and we do not need to worry about rhetoric which looks down on democratic views," he said.

On the issue of Beijing's determination to enact its proposed "anti-secession law" when the rubber-stamp National Peoples' Congress meets early next month, Lee urged the public to speak out against the proposed law and not to allow China to unilaterally change the status quo. He also said the proposed law would deter Taiwan from becoming a "normal" country.

The former president also took the opportunity to express his concern about the "rapid cross-strait economic integration." Taiwan could fall into Beijing's trap, using its increasing economic clout to advance its goal of unification, Lee said.

Lee also said that the nation's economic policies should not be separated from politics, and that "the government should not exclusively consider views of businesspeople."

With the 228 Peace Memorial Day approaching, the former president said the event, although having left an unforgettable impact on society, was also a valuable history lesson for people of Taiwan, as it leads one to reconsider the idea of the "motherland" and relations between Taiwan and China.

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