President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) reiterated his hope yesterday for a second meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), claiming that harmony and dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties are vital to political stability.
Chen made the remarks in the latest edition of his e-newsletter, in which the head of state said he also hopes to have the opportunity to meet with leaders of other political parties to exchange views on various major issues.
Expressing his gratitude to Ma for meeting with him early last month, the president said that the first meeting received a positive response from the public, but added that the two of them didn't have the chance to touch on issues concerning economic development and the people's livelihood due to time constraints.
As a result, Chen reiterated that he still looks forward to having the opportunity to meet with Ma again and with other opposition leaders in the near future.
Chen disclosed that a foreign expert on cross-strait relations told him that "`one China' is not a problem, but `two Taiwans' would be a major problem."
"If the divisions and confrontation within Taiwan persist, this will have an adverse effect on the nation's future and the development of cross-strait relations," the president said.
He said that the parties have different views on various major issues, including cross-strait relations, economic development and the people's livelihood, but persistent bickering and confrontation will only lead to internal attrition and not be helpful to public welfare or the development of cross-strait relations.
In another section of the newsletter, Chen announced that he would help with clean-up work at Paishawan (白沙灣), a beach in Taipei County's Shihmen Township (石門), this weekend to commemorate the anniversary of his first inauguration.
Chen said that soon after he assumed the presidency in 2000, he had designated May 20, the date of his inauguration, as "Taiwan Volunteer's Day" in an effort to promote volunteerism nationwide.
In 2001, Taiwan enacted the Volunteer Services Act (志願服務法), becoming only the second country after Spain to adopt such a law, Chen said.
Chen said this will be the sixth year that he has volunteered on "Taiwan Volunteer's Day."
The president worked at a car wash center in 2001, a nursing home for the elderly in 2002, a home for the mentally challenged in 2003, a development center for mentally challenged children and teenagers in 2004, and a recycling station last year.
He said each time he had volunteered it was a refreshing experience, and that he believes such a spirit of unconditional devotion is shared by many of those who volunteer.