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2004-04-27 21:31:31

    Taipei, April 27 (CNA) Taiwan should do its best to assuage U.S. concern over its plan to craft a new constitution in 2006, and try hard to address both national and U.S. interests while engaging in the issue, Foreign Affairs Minister Tan Sun Chen said Tuesday.

    Chen made the remarks to local media during a visit to the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center in southern Tainan County.

    In the face of deep U.S. concern over possible complications that Washington thinks may arise from a new Taiwan constitution in 2006 that President Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly pledged since his March 20 re-election, the foreign minister said that Taiwan must fully explain its stance as an independent sovereignty to the United States while seeking not to damage the interests of a long-term ally. "Taiwan should do what it has to do and take into account its own interests, as well as those of its ally," Chen said.

    David J. Keegan, deputy director of the Taipei office of the Washington-based American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) , said a day earlier at a tea party held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that "there are limitations to the U.S. support" for Taiwan's plan to hammer out a new constitution in 2006.

    AIT is responsible for U. S. dealings with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations after the two nations suspended ties in 1979.

    Keegan's statement came after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly testified before Congress last week that "pushing for independence carries the potential for a response from mainland China... that could destroy much of what Taiwan has built and crush its hopes for the future." Kelly also urged President Chen to exercise" restrained leadership."

    Commenting that Keegan's words do not represent any fresh thinking but are only a reiteration of Kelly's remarks, the foreign minister suggested, however, that the Taiwan authorities, including himself, do their utmost to clarify the misunderstanding between the two countries on the issue.

(By Flor Wang)


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