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CHEN'S SPEECH TO FLESH OUT CROSS-STRAIT TIES, CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

2004-05-19 22:02:13

    Taipei, May 19 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Wednesday that issues on relations between Taiwan and mainland China as well as constitutional reforms will form the bulk of the inaugural speech he will deliver on May 20.

    Chen made the remarks while meeting with three former chairmen of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) -- David N. Laux, Nat Bellocchi and Richard Bush -- who had arrived in Taipei to attend Thursday's inauguration for the Republic of China's 11th-term president and vice president. "In my inaugural speech, I will especially expound on the future development of cross-strait matters and constitutional revisions over which the public is very concerned, with these two issues forming the bulk of my 5,000-word speech, " Chen told the three former U.S. top liaison officers.

    Noting that this demonstrates that his administration attaches great importance to relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and the future development of Taiwan's constitutional democracy, Chen said that through his inaugural speech, he will give the attention to these two issues with a responsible, rational and firm attitude so that everyone will have confidence in Taiwan and its government as well as in himself. "Although these issues are very sensitive, thorny and complicated, we will galvanize our creativity and pool our wisdom to put forward Taiwan's thinking in a very rational, pragmatic and responsible way," the president stressed.

    Saying that many in the United States have recently been greatly interested in what would be in the inaugural speech as well as the situation in Taiwan and in the area of the Taiwan Strait, Chen pointed out that his administration is willing to do its utmost to amend the "chasm" in Taipei-Washington relations, if such a divide actually exists.

    Consequently, Chen said that in his inaugural speech, he will make public several more concrete steps his government will take in the coming four years to serve the common interests of Taiwan and the United States and to make greater contributions to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Strait as well as maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

    If there were any questions regarding Taiwan-U.S. ties over the past four years, they were certainly because the Taipei authorities failed to do enough, regardless if such questions were raised due to intentional misleading or mutual misunderstanding, Chen noted.

    The president also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to President George W. Bush and the American people for their concern over Taiwan-related issues and goodwill proposals, saying that their positive proposals have all reached the ears of the Taipei authorities.

    Also present at the meeting were Chiou I-jen, secretary-general of the Presidential Office, vice secretary-general Joseph Wu, who will serve as chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tan Sun Chen.

(By Luis Huang)

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