Fri, Apr 15, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP cosies up to TSU over defense bills

CROSS-PARTY TALKS The parties are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but that didn't stop them from making complimentary remarks in forwarding bills

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu, left, and People First Party Legislator Chang Hsien-yao exchange views during a meeting of the legislature's Home and Nations committee yesterday.


The People First Party's (PFP) draft cross-strait peace bill and the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) draft anti-invasion peace bill passed a preliminary review at the legislature's Home and Nations Committee yesterday, but most of the bills' articles were put aside because of sharp differences of opinion.

The parties agreed to talks to address differences on the contentious articles before sending them to the plenary legislative session for second and third readings.

The TSU's 11-article anti-invasion peace bill states that Taiwan has existed alongside China since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and that any change to the status quo or any action to strip the nation of its sovereignty would not be tolerated by Taiwanese or the international community.

The draft also says that the government should call a referendum and amend the Constitution to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty if the cross-strait status quo is threatened. The government could also use "non-peaceful" means to resist China's annexation, the draft states.

The PFP argued that it was not necessary to enact the law because existing legislation has similar provisions. It also said that the use of the word "Taiwan" rather than the official national title in the bill was bound to cause confusion and controversy.

But they praised the TSU's patriotism and its attempt to enact the law.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed an additional paragraph to the bill, which stated that the government must obtain more weapons for the sake of national security.

Calling the PFP's proposed negotiation committee in its cross-strait peace bill a "monster," TSU Legislator David Huang (黃適卓), the party's sole representative at the meeting, questioned the necessity of the bill.

"It clearly encroaches on the president's constitutional authority to set cross-strait policy as well as the executive authority of the Mainland Affairs Council," Huang said. "I'd very much like to know what they plan to do when the president's decision clashes with those made by the council."

DPP Legislator Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝) said that although he was not averse to the enactment of a cross-strait peace law, he feared that once any council was established, it would risk violating the Constitution and infringe upon the executive branch.

Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), the head of the PFP policy research department, however, said that establishing the council was necessary because the Mainland Affairs Council and its "white glove," the Straits Exchange Foundation, were no longer competent to handle cross-strait affairs.

According to the bill, a 17-member council must be established and several "peace ambassadors" must be elected among council members to conduct cross-strait negotiations and address 11 cross-strait policy issues.

They include signing an agreement about direct transportation links, the establishment of a demilitarized zone, the inking of an accord to protect China-based Taiwanese businesspeople, the setting up of a cross-strait free trade zone, the holding of a cross-strait summit and the signing of a peace accord with China.

Decisions arrived at by council members and "peace ambassadors" would be legally binding, and council members would be appointed by political parties in proportion to representation in the legislature.

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