Fri, Jan 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lu hopes Ma will agree to meet Chen

COLLABORATE The vice president called on the KMT chairman to represent the opposition and hold talks with the president for the sake of the country's future


Saying that she was looking forward to speaking with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) today, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she hoped to persuade him to meet President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for discussions that might contribute to interaction between the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT.

"I would like to urge Ma to put preconceived ideas aside and meet with the president in order to jointly make the country's future brighter," Lu said during a gathering with press at the Presidential Office.

Lu is slated to meet with Ma today at an annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Noting that Ma had earlier urged her to collaborate with the president for the sake of the country, "now, as a Harvard alumnus, I'm asking the same thing of [Ma], a Harvard alumnus, and I hope he can hold a dialogue with the president on behalf of the opposition," Lu said.

Stressing that today's meeting was not politically designed, Lu said she had reported to Chen about it and he had given his full support.

Lu said she will speak with Ma about certain development issues, such as social justice, during the meeting today.

Lu said that thinking over the president's New Year address, which she said included seven guiding principles -- national identity, cross-strait relations, national security, economic development, fairness and justice, constitutional reform and incorruptible governance -- would give people new ideas about the nation's political situation.

For the sake of the country's future, Lu said Ma has to be collaborative to solve the controversy over the arms procurement bills.

The proposals for the three arms procurement bills were established in 1995, 1997 and 1998 by the then KMT administration, Lu said.

"Why have such important proposals become unnecessary just because the KMT became the opposition?" Lu said.

Lu said that rumors regarding the president asking Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) or Ma to form a new Cabinet were not true.

Lu said that Ma, who knows the Constitution, would feel awkward about forming a new Cabinet.

The Constitution has no article giving the party holding a majority in the legislature the power to form a Cabinet.

While saying that the president had not discussed possible candidates for future premier, Lu added she was sure "that the leader of the reshuffled Cabinet would have to loyally follow the seven guiding principles in the president's New Year address."

Meanwhile, Wang yesterday called on the media to cease pursuing the Cabinet issue after Ma expressed no interest in meeting the president.

"That is fine. It is up to [Ma] to decide," Wang said. "It is a response to the president's request, isn't it?"

As Ma has already made his stance clear, Wang said he hoped the media would stop pursuing the issue.

When asked whether he would be willing to visit China in the capacity of legislative speaker under the "four principles" of the Koo-Wang talks in 1998, Wang said yes, without elaborating.

The "four principles" refer to mutual respect, continued dialogue, an aggressive search for common ground and no preset agenda.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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