Mon, Jan 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen heightening tensions, KMT says

`DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR' A KMT official said the president's New Year's Day speech would only ratchet up the confrontation with China and worsen the domestic deadlock

CNA , TAIPEI

The course charted by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for Taiwan in his New Year's Day address may have a negative impact on both domestic politics and relations with China, a top Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) official said yesterday.

Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭), vice executive director of the KMT's Policy Committee and director of the party's Department of Chinese Affairs, said in a press release that Chen's talk of Taiwan as a "country having a total land area of 36,000km2" and his plan to hold a referendum in 2007 for "Taiwan's new Constitution" by 2008 signify movement toward de jure Tai-wanese independence.

"It is hard to imagine that the US Congress will approve of such dangerous behavior that would cross Beijing's [red line]," he said.

Chang was critical of Chen for not following a course of reconciliation with China but rather heightening confrontation in the Taiwan Strait.

He added that Chen had tightened the policy governing Taiwan's economic and trade relations with China by switching from the slogan "active opening, effective management" to "active management, effective opening."

Chang said Chen mentioned the nation's official name, the Republic of China, in his address only twice -- the second time when he spoke of China's "annihilation" of the Republic of China in 1949.

Instead, Chen used the name "Taiwan" 70 times, Chang said.

Chang said that although Chen did not say it explicitly, the theme of his address was that there are two countries on either side of the Taiwan Strait: Taiwan and China.

He said that people were disappointed with the president's New Year message because it said nothing about badly needed direct links in trade, post and transportation, nor anything about charter flights.

The public could no longer pin their hopes for peace and stability between Taiwan and China on the president, he said, and in the remaining two years of Chen's term, the KMT would do everything possible to prevent a cross-strait crisis.

Meanwhile, the People First Party (PFP) lambasted Chen's address as "tremendously unintelligent" as "it is poised to ignite tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and deepen the political stalemate between the ruling and the opposition parties."

The PFP condemned Chen's new China policies, saying in a written statement that his tightened economic and trade policies are "compromising his career and doing the people of Taiwan a great disservice."

Describing the six major reform priorities that the president spelled out in the address as "providing no direction for the country to follow," the statement said the president's announcement was a move tantamount to "scratching an itch through his boot."

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