Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said Taiwan should replace the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution with a new constitution that reflects modern realities.
Lee said the ROC Constitution, enacted in China in 1947, is not suitable for Taiwan and should be replaced by a Taiwan basic law and that ultimately a new constitution should be enacted.
Lee made the remarks during an event organized by Taiwan Advocates in Taipei with four academics who were representatives of a student movement in 1991 known as the Wild Lilies (野百合學運).
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Back then, Lee met the student representatives and accepted their four demands, which were that Lee dissolve the now defunct national assembly, abolish the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款), call a state affairs meeting and set a timetable for political and economic reforms.
Four of the representatives met Lee again yesterday and each asked the former president questions about constitutional reform, cross-strait relations and the intricate relationship between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and business consortiums.
On constitutional reform, Lee said the ROC Constitution was amended six times during his presidency. These amendments, collectively known as the Additional Articles (增修條文), ended the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion and gave “electors of the free area of the Republic of China” — consisting of Taiwan proper as well as the outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu — the right to vote on constitutional amendments.
“The ROC Constitution is like temporary housing where we have not much choice but to stay there because of Taiwan’s special situation,” he said.
Lee said how the ROC Constitution should be dealt with hinged on the good faith of future leaders and their belief in the country.
National identification was a key component building a -Taiwan-centered consciousness, he said.
With a Taiwan-centered orientation, many problems such as the economy, the Constitution or cross-strait relations would naturally be resolved, he said.
Thirteen years after Lee made his announcement of the “special state-to-state” theory in 1998, many things have changed, he said.
“Taiwan must be stronger and China must change,” he said. “One of the biggest differences between Taiwan and China is that Eastern and Western civilizations co-exist in Taiwan, but this is not the case in China.”
On the KMT’s much criticized close ties with big businesses, Lee said that back then the KMT was rich, with very substantial party assets.
Therefore, it was natural to play the leading role of an investor. Of course, there were advantages and disadvantages, he said.
Asked whether he would have done things different if he had a second chance, Lee said he saw things differently now.
It was true that the KMT was a profit-making business, but the private sector also benefited significantly from the booming economy, he said.
‘UNACCEPTABLE’: The foreign ministry said that China’s behavior broke international law, while Johnny Chiang was worried such balloons could be used against Taiwan A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the US was yesterday condemned by officials in Taipei and sparked calls for the government to plan countermeasures. The Pentagon on Thursday said it had detected a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the country. Beijing has said the balloon is a civilian meteorological device that drifted into US territory after being blown off course. The National Security Bureau and Ministry of National Defense should investigate whether surveillance balloons could be used against Taiwan and prepare to respond to such acts, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s postponement
INTELLIGENCE VALUE: While the US was working on recovering the balloon’s remains, China said that it reserved ‘the right to make ... necessary responses’ US President Joe Biden’s administration lauded the Pentagon for shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the US Atlantic coast on Saturday, but China angrily voiced its “strong dissatisfaction” at the move, and said it might make “necessary responses.” The craft spent several days flying over North America before it was targeted off the coast of the southeastern state of South Carolina with a missile fired from an F-22 plane, Pentagon officials said. It fell into relatively shallow water just 14m deep. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the operation a “deliberate and lawful action” that came in response to China’s
RISK FACTOR: ASEAN issued a statement saying the cross-strait situation ‘could lead to miscalculation,’ but it is willing to facilitate dialogue to ensure stability in the region The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed a joint statement by ASEAN leaders voicing concerns that the situation across the Taiwan Strait could affect regional stability. The statement was issued after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat ended on Saturday in Jakarta. It was the first major meeting since Indonesia assumed chairmanship of ASEAN this year. Attendees of the meeting reiterated their determination to promote “sustainable peace, security, stability, and prosperity within and beyond the region,” the statement said. They expressed concerns about developments across the Taiwan Strait and their “implications on regional stability,” the statement said. The cross-strait situation “could lead to miscalculation, serious
THINK TANK VISIT: The former US Indo-Pacific official said that a capture of Taiwan’s outlying islands by China rather than a large-scale attack is a grave security concern The US and Taiwan can deepen their relations on many fronts, former head of the US Indo-Pacific Command Philip Davidson said yesterday while visiting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office. Davidson is leading a six-member delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research, a US-based think tank. They arrived on Monday and are scheduled to depart tomorrow. Tsai met with the delegation yesterday morning, welcoming the organization on its first visit to Taiwan since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the office said in a statement. She thanked Davidson, a retired admiral, for paying close attention to matters regarding the Taiwan