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.
A DECADE’S WORK: The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon has collected more than 20,000 words and phrases, and is expected to help people learning the Liu Dui dialect The Liu Dui Culture Research Association on Saturday unveiled the nation’s first domestically compiled lexicon of Hakka-language words in the Liu Dui dialect, an effort that took a decade of work and cost about NT$7 million (US$233,085 at the current exchange rate). The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon collected more than 20,000 phrases and words, and is estimated to be of great value in helping people learn the Liu Dui dialect and culture, the association said. It could also become a reference book for teachers, the association added. The lexicon collected phrases and common words used in daily speech, as well as local sayings, phrases
EXPANSION: The transportation ministry is to subsidize Taipei and Kaohsiung’s purchase of 63 multipurpose taxis, as well as the payment of incentives for drivers The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is appropriating nearly NT$60 million (US$2 million) to subsidize plans by the Taipei City Government and the Kaohsiung City Government to expand their multipurpose taxi fleets, it said over the weekend. The ministry said that it has since 2013 subsidized the multipurpose taxi service nationwide, as it has become a way for disabled people to travel. The nation has 980 multipurpose taxis, including 301 in Taipei and 272 in Kaohsiung, ministry statistics showed. Last year, the service was accessed more than 200,000 times in Taipei and 460,000 times in Kaohsiung, which the ministry said shows
The One Bear Museum in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西), a teddy bear museum once touted by the county government as a “luminous pearl” along Provincial Highway No. 13, is facing possible closure. The museum’s building, which was provided by the county government, has a serious water leakage problem and lacks a parking lot for buses to bring in tour groups, Hsinchu County Councilor Lo Shih-shi (羅仕琦) said on Saturday. The county government should step in to rescue the museum, or the negative reviews about the museum on the Internet might affect visitors’ impression of the township and the county, he said. The
‘NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEM’: Two DPP legislators said the government needs to help public agencies replace Chinese equipment and pass legislation banning their use More than 200 government entities are together using 1,108 telecommunications devices from Chinese brands, posing a cybersecurity risk, a government report showed. At the suggestion of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee last year, the Executive Yuan investigated 7,704 public institutions to see whether they were using or had procured telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese companies. They found that as of April 13, of the 3,837 public institutions that responded to their requests, 228 said they had been using equipment made by Chinese brands, including mobile phones, video cameras, drones and other Internet-related devices. The report highlighted products from seven brands considered to