Wed, May 10, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Transit choice hailed by greens, booed by blues

By Jewel Huang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The pan-green camp yesterday threw its support behind President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) decision not to make a transit stop in Anchorage, Alaska, on his way back home from Costa Rica, while the pan-blue camp panned Chen for jeopardizing Taiwan-US relations.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said the president's decision was based on upholding the national interest. The caucus said it hoped the media would stop criticizing and ridiculing the president's diplomatic efforts on Taiwan's behalf.

"We hope that people will be more supportive and understanding of the diplomatic difficulties that Taiwan has been suffering," DPP caucus whip Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.

"I would also like to remind the US that the `Taiwan issue' is not simply a China-related issue, but is an international one," she said. "We expect the US to respect the human rights of the 23 million Taiwanese people. The US cannot just consider its relations with Taiwan and China from an economic perspective."

"Taiwan and the US share the same values of democracy and human rights. Taiwan's strategic position and strength are significant to the US as well," Yeh added.

Pro-independence advocates and DPP legislators yesterday urged supporters to show their support for Chen at CKS International Airport when he returns from Latin America tomorrow.

"Taiwan cannot just pander to the US' demands and forfeit our dignity," DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said.

Pan-blue legislators, on the other hand, yesterday called on Chen to make a transit in Anchorage on his way home in order to mend relations with the US.

"Diplomacy is the art of compromise. If Chen harms ties with the US, I am worried that the US' Taiwan Relations Act might become discarded garbage," KMT Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) told a press conference.

As Taiwan and the US have no official relations, ties with the US are based on trust and goodwill, Chiang said.

"Unfortunately, Chen has destroyed both this time around," he said.

"If what Chen said was true -- that his decision not to stop over in Alaska was not due to his anger with the US -- then he should have given the US notice days ago."

KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said that he felt regret and puzzlement about why Chen is choosing not to transit through the US.

"Considering the [need to] maintain relations with the US, we hope that the president will think twice about this matter," he said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) suggested that Chen should stop showing his discontent with the US before he goes too far.

"If Chen doesn't realize that `enough is enough,' the spat with the US over the transit arrangements will surely influence Taiwan-US relations," he said.

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