Wed, Aug 30, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen hopes for peaceful protest

SIT-IN CAMPAIGN While a DPP legislator went on the attack against Shih Ming-teh's campaign, the president said he hoped the protest would end without conflict

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed the hope that a demonstration organized to oust him would end peacefully.

"The conflicts between Israel and Lebanon reflect the importance of peace," Chen said. "We have been doing our best to safeguard peace across the Taiwan Strait so security can be ensured."

Chen made the remarks when receiving US Representative Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican, and his wife, who is Lebanese.

Chen said that he hoped their presence would help the street sit-in end in a peaceful manner.

"I believe you and your wife can bring happiness and good fortune to the 23 million people of Taiwan and the government I represent," he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) yesterday responded to the anti-Chen campaign's decision to change its name.

"I acknowledge the name change of the campaign initiated by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) from `anti-Chen' to `anti-corruption,'" he said. "However, he should be targeting the KMT because it is the source of corruption."

No matter whether the KMT's assets were worth NT$600 billion (US$19 billion) or NT$50 billion, they were obtained illegally and should be returned to the people and state coffers, Wang said.

Wang said that the money, if it could be allocated to families suffering from financial difficulties, would make a big difference.

In response, KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) dismissed Wang's remark as a scheme aimed at diverting the focus of the campaign against Chen.

Wang said that KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was "sitting on both sides of the fence" because he was supporting the anti-Chen campaign but also wanted to see Chen stay on as president so he would stand a better chance of winning the 2008 presidential election.

"Although Shih has seen Ma's true colors, I'd like to remind him not to become a pawn of Ma," he said. "He should rein in his horses and stop the campaign right away."

Describing Ma as an "opportunist," Wang said he suspected that Ma and fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) were behind Shih's campaign against Chen.

Wang also said Ma was too late in expressing disapproval of the application made by Shih's camp to hold the 24-hour sit-in from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15.

The city earlier had approved the campaign's application for a 24-hour sit-in from Aug. 23 to Sept. 7. Wang said that Ma should not have approved a 24-hour sit-in in the first place.

"Now he is just trying to shirk responsibility and shift the blame to others," Wang said.

Wang also demanded that Ho De-fen (賀德芬), a spokeswoman for Shih's camp, apologize to the public and to DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) for insinuating that he had planted two bags outside Shih's headquarters on Monday that staff at Shih's headquarters reported to police, concerned that they were bombs.

Police later discovered that it was a false alarm and said that a man suffering an apparent mental breakdown had left the bags there.

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