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2004-02-07 17:50:09

    Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) The conflict between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will remain in place no matter who wins the Republic of China's presidency in the March 20 election, an independent lawmaker said Saturday.

    Speaking at a seminar on Taiwan's national identity problems in the face of mainland China's rise as an economic powerhouse, Legislator Sisy Chen said the cross-strait conflict will not come to an end simply because President Chen Shui-bian wins re-election or because opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan claims victory in the upcoming election.

    Sisy Chen, who once served as spokeswoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) before it came to power in May 2000 and who is now Lien's top campaign adviser, said Taiwan's national identity plight will also not evaporate overnight with the end of the presidential election.

    Since 1992 when the two sides of the Taiwan Strait reached a verbal agreement that mainland China and Taiwan are both part of "China" despite their contention over the definition of "China, " Sisy Chen said, the biggest change in local society has been the significant increase in the number of people who identify themselves with Taiwan rather than with mainland China. "The results of many opinion polls show that only about 9 percent of local people still identify themselves as Chinese, " Sisy Chen said. "This is a far cry from the figures seen in the early 1990s."

    The outspoken lawmaker claimed that the upcoming presidential election will offer a historic opportunity for local voters to choose either an across-the-board conflict or an unpleasant compromise with mainland China.

    In her view, Sisy Chen said, if the opposition "pan-blue alliance" ticket of KMT Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong wins, Taiwan and mainland China will still have conflicts from time to time. But she added that those conflicts will not be related to sovereignty issues.

    If the ruling DPP ticket of President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu is re-elected, Sisy Chen claimed, the Taiwan-mainland China conflicts will be about sovereignty in nature.

    Should that be the case, Sisy Chen said, the conflicts won't originate in Taiwan, but rather from mainland China's internal political pressure or Beijing's own interests.

    Commenting on Sisy Chen's analysis, DPP Legislator Chen Chung-hsin, who also heads the DPP's China affairs department, said it's an exaggeration to describe the upcoming election as a "historic choice." "Even if the DPP is defeated in the race, it can still stage a comeback in the future. If the DPP wins, it will be able to further consolidate its power base in the future and will have to squarely face up to the thorny 'one China' issue," Chen Chung-hsin added.

(By Sofia Wu)


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