Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (
"The president has always regarded Lee as a spiritual leader who has made a great contribution to the nation's democratization process," he said.
"I believe that both the public and the president hope that [Lee] will be able to help the country become more democratic," he added.
Mark Chen made the remarks yesterday morning in response to a report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) under the headline "A-Bian proposes `pan-green alliance,' would let Lee steer."
The report quoted Taiwan Society chairman Wu Shuh-min (
The report said that Chen Shui-bian met with Wu at the Presidential Office last Friday, and that the president had wanted to form a "pan-green alliance" for a while.
Wu told the Taipei Times yesterday that Chen Shui-bian had not used the phrase "pan-green alliance" at their meeting, although the president did propose forming an alliance under Lee's leadership.
Alliance membership would not be limited to pan-green parties, Wu said, and would also extend to private groups.
Wu said that the first time he had heard of the president's idea was about two or three months ago, and that it had nothing to do with the upcoming elections.
When asked whether he thought the idea was feasible, considering that Lee has made no secret of his displeasure with Chen Shui-bian's governance, Wu said he hoped that people who want to see a brighter future for the country would unite in working toward this goal.
Whether such an alliance would be formed, however, hinged on Lee's attitude, Wu said.
He added that he agreed with Lee's statement on Sunday that he was "not a supporter of the pan-green [camp]," but "a supporter of Taiwan."
While Lee seemed to insinuate on Sunday that Chen Shui-bian had a bad upbringing as well as bad taste, giving Chen's governance a failing grade, the Presidential Office officials yesterday downplayed Lee's criticism, saying that different people have different views.
Mark Chen said that he had not heard Lee complain about the president when he visited him on several recent occasions.