Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lu invites Wang, caucus leaders to dinner meeting

By Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Presidential Office announced yesterday that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) had invited Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and caucus leaders to a dinner meeting on Monday.

The Presidential Office's statement said that the meeting would be held at Lu's official residence on Renai Road, but emphasized that it was being held to discuss the establishment of the Pacific Congressional Caucus.

Lu is the founder of the Democratic Pacific Union and has expressed the hope that a new organization, the Pacific Congressional Caucus, could be formed to push for legislative reform and the consolidation of democracy.

The statement said that Lu had planned to hold the meeting on June 30 when the last legislative session ended, but her office had not had enough time to prepare for the event. They then decided to postpone it to Sept. 18, one day before the legislature reconvenes.

Wang said yesterday that he had forwarded Lu's invitation to caucus whips of all legislative caucuses.

"I hope caucus whips from across party lines can take part in the meeting as it is a matter of concern to the whole country," Wang said.

Wang made the remarks after People First Party legislative caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that the party would boycott the meeting.

"We appreciate Lu's good intentions, but the time is not ripe for inter-party negotiation, given that the president hasn't resigned," Lee said.

Lee said that holding an inter-party national conference before Chen's resignation might lead to a misconception that Lu was pursuing the presidency.

Wang urged PFP legislators to change their minds and attend the meeting which he said was aimed solely at preparing for a Democratic Pacific Union conference to be convened at the end of the year in Taipei, and had nothing to do with the current political situation.

"All [caucus whips across party lines] said yes to [the invitation] initially," Wang said.

Referring to a story in yesterday's Chinese-language China Times,Wang said that media reportage was responsible for the misconception that the meeting had been called to address the political situation, causing PFP legislators to become apprehensive.

The China Times report noted that Lu had picked a rather sensitive time to hold a meeting to "discuss national affairs with ruling and opposition party leaders and hopefully reach a consensus with them."

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