Taiwan and China are two independent countries, and that is the cross-strait "status quo" which Taiwan is committed to safeguarding, President Chen Shui-bian (
"Over the past 50 years, the `status quo' across the Taiwan Strait has been that on one side, there is a democratic Taiwan, and on the other, there is an authoritarian China," Chen said.
"Neither of the two countries are subordinate to each other, because they are two independent sovereignties. Both sides have their own national title, national flag, national anthem, legislature, judicial system and military," he said.
Chen told a delegation of the British House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee at the Presidential Office yesterday morning that his administration was devoted to upholding peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the "status quo."
Taiwan did not wish to see the "status quo" changed unilaterally, he added.
Chen told the delegation that the constitutional re-engineering project in which the nation was currently engaged was a difficult undertaking.
"Judging from the political situation in the legislature and the social environment, I don't think it will be easy to make constitutional changes, especially when they concern an issue as sensitive as sovereignty," he said.
However, a constitution that is no longer viable, timely and relevant must be amended, Chen said.
The key problem with the Constitution, Chen added, lay in the ambiguity of the government system, which was neither a parliamentary system such as the UK's, a presidential system like that of the US, nor the semi-presidential system practiced by France.
"Our Constitution is none of the above. It is time to make a choice among the three," he said.
No matter which government system is adopted, the issue was worth debating, Chen said.
The government had an open attitude regarding the matter, he added.
A more distinctly defined constitutional system was bound to help the administration better govern the country and upgrade the nation's competitiveness, he said.
Chen said that any constitutional reform proposal would have to conform to the amendment process.
In other words, any proposal would have to obtain the approval of three-quarters of the legislature and then the final consent of 50 percent of eligible voters, he said.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up