Thu, Nov 16, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen says Republican setbacks may affect Taiwan

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian yesterday places a heart-shaped magnet with the text ``I want to have fun'' on a white board while attending a press conference announcing the publication of an illustrated book promoting the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book is entitled What We All Should Know.

PHOTO: CNA

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed concern over the impact of the US mid-term elections on the long-stalled US-sourced arms procurement package and the US' commitment to help defend Taiwan.

"I'm concerned that the Republicans' defeat in the House and Senate might have an impact on the US government's commitment to defend Taiwan and sell us arms," Chen said.

Chen made the remark while receiving the Republican National Committee at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

Chen thanked committee members for visiting Taiwan one week after the mid-term elections and said that the visit symbolized their party's staunch support for the country.

Chen also expressed appreciation to the Republican Party for its firm opposition to China's use of military force against Taiwan.

Chen noted that the US government had promised to help defend Taiwan if the country was attacked by China.

The president also apologized to the delegation for the legislature's failure to pass the arms procurement package.

As negotiations with opposition parties are under way, Chen said that he hoped to see substantial progress during this legislative session and that he would be very grateful if the bill moved forward.

The president said that while Taiwan has transformed itself from an authoritarian regime into a democracy, its democratization has occurred some 200 years after that of the US.

Some of the nation's achievements over the years include the free and fair election of the president and vice president, county commissioners and city mayors as well as members of the legislature, Chen said.

Chen added that he has devoted his presidency to deepening the nation's democracy. This year's Freedom House report showed that the rating of Taiwan's political freedom had improved as a result of a strengthening of the electoral process by way of extensive constitutional and electoral reforms, the president noted.

Meanwhile, at a separate setting, Chen also complimented a private group for coordinating the publication of an illustrated book promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The book, entitled What We All Should Know, was released as part of the government's effort to promote children's rights.

Taiwan amended the Children's Welfare Law (兒童福利法) in 1993 to include clauses protecting the rights of children.

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