Fri, Mar 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen confirms he will join tomorrow's rally

ANTI-AGGRESSION DEMONSTRATION The president said the only way that China can win respect internationally is through political reform and respecting human rights

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said he will participate in tomorrow's march to show support for his party's resolve to oppose China's aggression and safeguard democracy and peace.

"I will not absent myself from the event and have decided to stand together with the people," Chen said. "I am calling on the public, regardless of their gender, age and political affiliation, to come out and join us."

Chen revealed his plans while receiving members of the Taiwan Association of Japan at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

City police yesterday said that traffic restrictions will be in force along the route of the march, which is scheduled to begin at 2pm from Songshan Tobacco Factory Park and end at 3:30pm at Ketagalan Boulevard.

No cars will be allowed to enter the Ketagalan Boulevard from 10am to 9:30pm tomorrow.

From 2pm to 5pm, cars traveling on the Jianguo overpass are advised to turn off from the Hsinyi exit. Certain buses will also change their routes.

Chen called on China to step up its effort to conduct political reform and improve its human-rights record, saying this was the only ways it can win the respect and recognition of the international community.

"China is a big country and has great potential, but the international community does not necessarily accept or approve of its military build-up and intimidation," Chen said.

"Only a democratic China can ensure perpetual peace in the Taiwan Strait," he said.

Chen again likened China to a giant elephant and Taiwan to a hare, saying that it is neither fair nor reasonable for the international community to ask the hare to grit its teeth and endure the pain for fear that the more the hare cries, the crazier the elephant will become.

If the international community recognizes Taiwan's democratic development, the president said that it should also respect the Taiwanese people's right to choose their own future.

He pledged to continue down the path of democratic reform because it is the right way to go.

Regarding his decision on the National Unification Council and unification guidelines, Chen said that it is clear that the true beneficiaries of the matter are the people of Taiwan because they reclaim the right to choose their future.

"I believe the matter will become an important milestone in the history of the country's democratization process," he said.

"As long as we do the right thing and take the right path, I believe we will eventually win the understanding and support of the international community, the people and history," Chen said.

He also called on the public to have faith in themselves, in Taiwan and Taiwan's democracy. With faith, Chen said the nation will find the path that truly belongs to all 23 million of its people.

Meanwhile, Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), the director-general of the National Police Agency, yesterday said if the president takes to streets tomorrow, his presence at the rally may cause some headaches for the police in terms of security.

"Despite the pressure, the police will make sure-fire preparations to guarantee the president's security and he needn't worry about any repetition of the 319 shooting incident," Hou said, responding to reporters' questions after he attended a meeting of the legislature's Home and Nations Committee yesterday.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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