The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday requested that the pan-blue alliance offer an explanation for their opposition to the long-stalled arms procurement bill.
"While Chinese President Hu Jintao (
The arms procurement bill has been rejected by the legislature's Procedural Committee 36 times since the beginning of this legis-lative term in February.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
The original NT$480 billion (US$15 billion) special arms procurement bill sought to purchase three PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile batteries, 12 P-3C maritime-patrol aircraft and eight diesel-electric submarines from the US.
At the request of opposition parties, the Executive Yuan has removed the NT$133 billion outlay earmarked for Patriot batteries over the next 15 years from the proposal, and included them in the Ministry of National Defense's annual budget instead, lowering the total amount of the special budget from NT$480 billion to around NT$350 million.
Despite the government's concession, the pan-blue alliance remains opposed to the watered-down version of the originally proposed bill.
Citing a recent example of the Taipei City Government's handling of the national flag, Lai theorized that the reason the pan-blue camp keeps opposing the arms procurement plan is to "raise China's national flag and lower Taiwan's."
Lai was referring to a national figure skating competition held at Taipei City's new indoor stadium on Tuesday. While there is a Chinese national flag flying at the venue, Taiwan's national flag is nowhere in sight.
DPP caucus whip Chen Chi-jun (陳景峻) said that the pan-blue camp is joining forces with Beijing because Beijing exerts itself to bully Taiwan not only on the military front, but also on the legislative, scientific and economic front.
Chen said that he would like to ask Taipei Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
In related news, DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), who is a member of the legislature's National Defense Committee, yesterday said that his caucus will try to request a special budget or additional budget for Patriot anti-missile batteries this year or make the regular budget request next year. The defense committee recently crossed out NT$10.9 billion of the Patriot missile batteries' secret budget earmarked for next year.
His caucus would also file for a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices to rule on the legitimacy of the country's first nationwide referendum.
In the poll, voters were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on whether they agree that the government should purchase more advanced anti-missile weapons to boost the nation's self-defense capabilities.
Although the vast majority of the respondents said "yes," the referendum failed to achieve the 50 percent threshold required to make it valid.
The pan-blue alliance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP), however, say the invalid referendum represented the public's "veto" of the purchase of Patriot missiles.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by