Sun, May 27, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT's `Taiwan' change sparks controversy

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) plan to prioritize "Taiwan" in the proposed charter change threatens to split party members, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) tried to play down the issue yesterday, insisting that the party was still seeking consensus on the revision.

"The KMT's biggest responsibility at present is to defend the Republic of China ... We are being pragmatic, but we won't make big changes on the party's goals," Wu said yesterday before hosting a KMT local government chiefs meeting in Taipei County.

The KMT is expected to revise the party charter during its congress on June 24 and include "Taiwan-centered" values in the revised version. The changes will mark the first ever mention of "Taiwan" in the party's charter.

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reiterated yesterday his support for the revision, but denied that the changes were an election ploy to help him attract votes in the presidential race next year.

"The phrase `prioritize Taiwan and benefit the people' has been mentioned many times before. We are just including it in the charter to reflect what we've been doing all along," Ma said during the meeting.

"We have to work on improving relations with China [but adding Taiwan-centered values] is the right direction," he said.

Voicing his support for the revision, Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) urged the public not to judge the issue based on ideology, and disagreed that the changes would cost the KMT votes from deep-blue supporters.

"The KMT is developing in Taiwan, and it should identify with this island and work with the people," he said.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) called the decision to add Taiwan in the revision "pragmatic" and "rational," adding that such a move should be encouraged.

Ma said debate over the issue among party members was expected, and the issue would be thoroughly discussed before a decision is made during the party congress.

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