Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Young praised, vilified by parties

MIXED REACTION While pan-blue politicians condemned the AIT head's comments urging passage of the arms bill, ruling officials lauded Young for his candid statement

By Mo Yan-chih, Jimmy Chuang and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Wang added, however, that Taiwan is an independent country and the passage or review of any bill should be left to the legislature.

As to whether or not the legislature would pass the arms procurement deal by the end of this year, Wang said he would not make a judgment call but that he would continue to look for "proper timing" to coordinate relations between the governing and opposition parties.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told reporters that Young's comments simply highlighted the problem.

"Young is very friendly to Taiwan. He cares about the relationship between Taiwan and the US a lot," Su said when approached by reportersfor a comment.

"He pointed out where the problem is. However, the problem could be solved as soon as our legislature approves this proposal," Su said.

Su added that the US government approved the proposed arms sales more than five years ago. It is quite embarrassing that the Taiwanese government could not repay this favor because the budget is still pending at the legislature, he said.

"It is like ... we did some grocery shopping but did not pay our bills and our debt has been outstanding for five years," Su said.

He also mentioned that the military has not upgraded its weapons system over the past five years, while the Chinese military has kept increasing its annual budget.

Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) admitted to reporters that he had felt pressure from the US government starting about six months ago.

Everybody should take Young's comments seriously and figure out a solution instead of continuing to argue about this issue, he said.

"I am not trying to scare everybody. But, think about it, the Chinese navy claim that they will have at least three aircraft carriers by 2020. What about us? How are we going to defend ourselves?" Lee asked.

Former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), the leader of campaign to oust President-Chen-Shui-bian (陳水扁), condemned Young for "ignoring the will of hundreds of thousands of anti-Chen protesters and making irresponsible comments on Taiwan's internal affairs."

"This is interfering with domestic policies and an offense against the 23 million Taiwanese people," Shih said.

Urging both legislators and the public alike "not to succumb to Young's threat," Shih called on the people of Taiwan and overseas Taiwanese to issue a protest against Young.

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