Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP promises not to break `four noes'

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS The party vowed not to touch on such issues to avoid breaking the promises the president made to the US during his inauguration

By Ko Shu-ling and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposals for constitutional amendments will not violate the "four noes" promise President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made in 2000, the Presidential Office said yesterday.

The pledge, however, does not cover the territorial definition of Taiwan.

The "four noes" refer to the pledge Chen made as part of his first inaugural speech. Chen promised that as long as China does not use military force against Taiwan, he would not declare independence, not change the national title, not enshrine the "state-to-state" model in the Constitution, nor endorse a referendum on formal independence.

As the DPP's Central Executive Committee is scheduled to discuss the party's four proposals for constitutional amendments today, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) yesterday said the president does not have any preference for the proposals.

"If he has one, it would be that if the country wants to change its system of government, then it has to fully adopt either a parliamentary or a presidential system," she said.

When asked whether the DPP's final version would touch on territorial issues, Liu said she believed the party would make a "smart decision."

The four proposals include one focusing on a change of the government from semi-presidential to presidential; another on the parliamentary system; another on a change of the government system with a change to the national title, territorial definition and national anthem and the final version on a change of the government system without touching on the issues of national title, territorial definition and national anthem.

Chen raised political eyebrows last weekend when he suggested that it was time for the people of Taiwan to "seriously consider" whether the territorial definition of Taiwan in the current Constitution -- which includes the whole of China, Tibet and Mongolia -- should be rewritten to reflect the current reality.

The US State Department urged Chen to stick to his "four noes" and said that Chen's fulfillment of his commitments would be a test of his "leadership, dependability and statesmanship."

Liu yesterday said the committee's discussion today would focus more on changing the system of government.

"Our stance is clear: the process of constitutional reform will be democratic and the results will be open," she said. "As the president is a party member and US officials and think tanks have expressed concern over the issue, he has promised to stick to the `four noes' and not cause any trouble for our American friends."

Once the party reaches an agreement, Liu said the president will fully respect the joint decision because the party is not ruled by one person alone.

"There will be only one version and the President will keep his `four noes' promise," she said. "We will not change any wording of the additional articles of the Constitution."

The DPP discussed its constitutional amendment proposals in the party's caucus meeting yesterday afternoon, but no consensus was reached, DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun said.

The caucus also suggested that party headquarters "not finalize a hastily prepared version" during the party's Central Standing Committee meeting scheduled to be held today, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

According to the proposal drafts that were distributed during the caucus meeting, only changes of governmental systems were addressed.

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