Mon, Jan 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

TSU throws its support behind Chen's statements

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus yesterday expressed support for the president's new cross-strait economic policy and constitutional reforms disclosed in his New Year address, but added that they hope the speech was not merely political posturing.

"Aggressively managing cross-strait opening and mounting a referendum on a new constitution have always been our doctrine," said TSU caucus whip March Ho (何敏豪). "While the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration boasts about its `active opening, effective management' economic strategy, we've seen the government do a poor job in effectively managing China-bound investment."

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said in his New Year speech yesterday that future cross-strait economic policy would be adjusted to "active management, effective opening" to lower the risks of allowing more China-bound investments.

The president also said that he hopes to see a draft of a new Taiwan constitution completed this year, and that if conditions are ripe, "Who says it is impossible to hold a referendum on a new constitution next year?"

Longtime goals

Ho said that his caucus has always favored writing a new constitution and putting it to a popular vote, and that it hopes the president "means what he says." Ho also echoed the president's call for the pan-blue camp to allow review of the long-stalled arms procurement bill, instead of continuing their boycott.

In addition to the arms procurement plan, Ho said that his caucus would support bills that are conducive to national development and government reform, such as a bill designed to establish an ethics and anti-corruption bureau under the Ministry of Justice.

The president said yesterday that he hopes to see the bill become law as soon as possible.

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) yesterday acknowledged the president's New Year speech, saying that it pinpointed the cause of the current political deadlock and social confusion.

"The president pointed out that the crux of the problem lies in the differences on national identification," he said. "If opposition parties identified themselves with Taiwan consciousness and Taiwanese values, I believe the political stalemate could be effectively resolved."

Implementation

Commenting on the president's new cross-strait economic policy, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the key lies in how the policy is implemented, rather than the policy itself.

While the president insinuated in his speech that KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) regards unification with China as the KMT's ultimate goal, Wang said that Ma is correct in this regard, because such an outcome is clearly specified in the Guidelines for National Unification (國家統一綱領), which have been in place for 15 years.

"I think what the president meant may be that the nation's future cannot be decided by one single person or party," Wang said.

The guidelines, adopted in 1991 by the National Unification Council, set as a goal a unified country including China and Taiwan that is governed through a democratic and free system with equitable distribution of wealth.

KMT Legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said that his caucus supports the preservation of defense capabilities at an "appropriate level" and that his caucus has been handling the arms procurement plan "responsibly." Tseng also expressed his caucus' opposition to a referendum on a new constitution, claiming that most Taiwanese people are averse to the idea.

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