Wed, Nov 08, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office in crisis: Chen slams bad design of funds

I'M INNOCENT The president told a gathering that the confusing nature of the funds was to blame for his problems and that he would eventually clear his name

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday blamed partisan politics for the controversy caused by his "state affairs fund," saying that it was unfair to hold him accountable for the fund's bad design.

"Democratic politics is partisan politics and competition among political parties is perfectly justified. However, national security and the national interest cannot be used as a bargaining chip or weapon," he said. "Before I took over the presidency, many of the president's secret funds did not conform to accounting and auditing regulations, but I never questioned them as being irregular or corrupt."

Chen made the remarks at the Presidential Office while addressing representatives attending this year's Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission conference.

Chen reiterated his special allowance fund was used entirely for public purposes and not a single dollar was used to line his own pockets.

"I believe the judicial system will prove my innocence and history will clear my name," he said. "I hope the public respects the judicial inquiry into the matter and waits patiently for the courts ruling."

Chen said that many diplomatic undertakings were confidential and could not be disclosed to prosecutors in light of the nation's diplomatic predicament.

"Most of the time you cannot apply normal standards," he said. "There are so many of secrets that cannot be revealed to anyone and some should be forever kept secret."

There were many things he wished he could lay bare so the public would have a clearer picture, but he had to take the national interest into consideration, Chen said.

Faced with China's suppression of the nation's diplomatic space, Chen said that the government has made strenuous efforts over the years to expand the nation's international presence via all kinds of possible means, including official, unofficial, public and private ones.

Since it took time to establish relationships, especially with non-diplomatic allies, Chen said the impact would be destructive if such relationships were sabotaged or contacts were lost.

Commenting on the street protests calling for his resignation, Chen said that it reflected the maturity of the nation's democratic system.

In his speech, Chen also recognized the legislative committees' preliminary approval of the NT$6.1 billion (US$185 million) confidential budget earmarked for 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft on Monday.

"We have only one Taiwan and national security should transcend partisan politics," he said. "The country, after all, belongs to everyone rather than one party alone."

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