Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Chen `must' call meeting

NATIONAL POLICY A group of activists called on the president to initiate a forum for cross-strait policymaking, in an effort to build a consensus

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following opposition party leaders' recent trips to China, it is necessary for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to immediately call a national policy meeting to discuss the thorny issue of cross-strait relations with political leaders and the people, a civic peace group urged yesterday.

"While cross-strait issues should have been reasonably debated, they have unfortunately been manipulated by political parties, especially during election periods," said Chien Hsi-chieh, executive director of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan. "Only the voice of the people can help bring to a halt political feuds and confrontations, which have been used by Beijing to disintegrate the people of Taiwan and the country."

In a bid to integrate political power and reach public consensus over cross-strait issues, Chien called on Chen to call a national policy conference to discuss the matter as soon as possible.

"It is very important for the president to listen to the different voices of the people on the topic," he said. "The voice of the people should become the basic foundation of the president's long-term cross-strait policy and the policy should be made on the basis of the welfare of the people of Taiwan, rather than on the interest of the president himself or of his party."

Chien made the remarks on behalf of the Alliance of Independent Organizations to Promote Cross-Strait Peace.

The alliance was founded in 2002 by late presidential adviser Liu Hsia (劉俠).

As most people in Taiwan prefer peace to war, Chien said that Chen should listen to the voice of the people as to what kind of peace model Taiwanese people want, not what any individual politician or political party wants.

"Our ideal may sound a little far-fetched to some, but we'd like to see the situation across the Taiwan Strait improve to such a state that is better than the status quo," he said. "It, of course, requires public discussion and brainstorming as to what the best model should be."

Son Yu-lian (孫友聯), secretary-general of the Taiwan Labour Front, said that he would like the voice of labor unions to be heard during the national policy meeting.

He also called on opposition parties to let Chen talk with his Chinese counterpart about cross-strait issues, because only a popularly elected president can represent the people of Taiwan.

Huang Tsai-fa (黃財發), a standing board director of the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions, expressed the same opinion.

"We saw the 10-point consensus signed by President Chen and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜). We also saw the six-point communique reached between Soong and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), and the five-point agreement made between Hu and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰)," he said. "However, we have never heard them ask what the people of Taiwan want."

Echoing Huang's viewpoint, Wu Tung-jye (吳東傑), secretary-general of the Green Formosa Front, said that cross-strait issues are not the "individual property" of any politician or party, and cannot be controlled by them.

In addition to requesting that Chen hold a national policy meeting, Chien said that the ruling and opposition parties should also make an effort to reconcile with each other and create a consensus about cross-strait policies.

Although Chien said that they recognize the recent efforts opposition parties have made to improve cross-strait relations, they are very curious to know why opposition parties can sit down and talk with the Chinese authorities, but refuse to reconcile with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

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