Tue, Oct 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Minister downplays fears over sensitive constitutional issues

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government will abide by its commitment to constitutional reform, but would steer clear of sensitive issues, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday.

He added that Taiwan and the US were communicating well and had a mutual understanding in terms of constitutional reforms.

Huang, who returned from a trip to the US on Sunday, made the remarks yesterday in the Legislative Yuan.

Huang said that he had not met any US officials during his stay in California, adding that the purpose of his trip had been to meet some old friends and deliver a speech at Stanford University.

"I met my friend William Perry, a former US deputy secretary of defense, other retired officials and some important academics," Huang said. "But I did not meet any incumbent officials and I did not discuss the arms sale bills and the constitutional reforms with US officials."

In a speech at former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming's (辜寬敏) 80th birthday celebration on Oct. 15, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) proposed establishing a "Second Republic," and created a political uproar with his suggestion of changing the territory stipulated in the Constitution.

When asked about the US' attitude towards Chen's ideas on constitutional reform, Huang said that Taiwan has enjoyed very smooth channels of communication with the US on these issues since Chen won re-election in 2004.

"The Taiwanese government abides by its promises on constitutional reform, and the US has a very good understanding of this," Huang said.

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