Heated differences of opinion arose among legislators yesterday over the difficulty President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration experienced in negotiating with Washington on his US transit stops.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (
Opposition legislators said that Chen was being punished by the US because of his earlier decision to cease the functions of the National Unification Council.
KMT Legislator John Chiang (
"It is unnecessary for Chen to make a transit stop in the US. He could also fly to Central and South America via South Africa," Chiang said.
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that China's obstructionism was to blame for the difficulty in arranging the US transit stops.
"China placed strong demands on the US to `do something' when the president filed the request to make transit stops in the US," Wang told reporters, without elaborating.
He declined to disclose the source of his information.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus called on opposition legislators not to demoralize the government.
DPP caucus whip Yeh Yi-jin (
"The US needs China's help in dealing with the issue of Iran's nuclear program, and that influenced its decision on Chen's transit request, which is disappointing," DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (
Chen is scheduled to arrive in Paraguay today and to leave for Costa Rica on Sunday. It was unclear yesterday whether Chen would get off the plane during his two-hour transit stop in Anchorage.