President Chen Shui-bian (
"The US expressed concern about our UN referendum bid to promote its own interests, but the US is not our opponent. Taiwan's enemy is China, which is hiding behind the US," Chen said in an address to the World Taiwanese Congress, a US-based organization advocating Taiwanese independence.
The organization started a two-day conference at the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday.
Citing an unspecified recent poll which showed that 70 percent of the people saw Taiwan as an independent country, while 69 percent thought of themselves as Taiwanese, Chen said that Taiwan became an independent country in the period from the first direct election of the president to the scrapping of the National Unification Guidelines last year.
"During the democratization process a new and independent country was born, and that country is Taiwan," Chen said.
"We are not afraid of China's suppression. We will actively join the UN and other international organizations under the name Taiwan, and establish Taiwan's new role on the world map," he said.
The nation should strive to become a "normal country" by supporting the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) normalization resolution, Chen said.
He said the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) UN referendum bid was just mimicking the DPP's efforts and condemned KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for saying he would accept applying for UN membership under the name "Taipei, China."
"Under pressure from China, Ma Ying-jeou made concessions and proposed entering the UN under the name `Chinese Taipei' or `Taipei, China.' Is he campaigning to become the chief executive of Taipei, China?" Chen said.
The World Taiwanese Congress meeting is being attended by several politicians and political observers from the US, including former US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs Randy Schriver, former US deputy national security advisor James Steinberg and Japanese House of Representatives member Akihisa Nagashima, who will deliver keynote speeches on Taiwan's relations with the US and Japan.
Themes of this year's meeting center on loyalty to Taiwan, pushing for the formation of a new constitution, cementing friendships with foreign allies, and defending sovereignty, the congress said.
Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) yesterday urged Chen to discuss more important issues, such as the economy, rather than using the meeting to criticize Ma.
"Major international agencies have recently lowered their competitiveness ratings for Taiwan. This would not have happened had the president spent more time focusing on economic issues," Lo said in a statement.
"The DPP doesn't want to talk about economic issues. Its only trick is to create tension in foreign relations and cross-strait issues and use ideologies to cover up its incompetence and corruption," he said.
DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday defended earlier remarks that he was running for the presidency of the "Taiwanese nation."
"For me, the Republic of China is Taiwan. I am running for the presidency of the Republic of China in accordance with the Constitution, but I am also running to become president of Taiwan or the Taiwanese nation, as these titles are recognized by the people," he said after attending the World Taiwanese Congress meeting.
Additional reporting by CNA
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