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2004-05-29 15:41:07

    Taipei, May 29 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Saturday that central and local government agencies themselves should regularly review new issues arising from cross-strait relations and integrate relevant issues into their day-to-day operations.

    President Chen made the remarks when he addressed a meeting of the new Cabinet in Ilan, eastern Taiwan. "Cross-strait relations are not the responsibility of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council alone, but are relevant to all levels of government," the president said.

    He noted that in mainland China, not only does the State Council have a Taiwan Affairs Office, but all provinces and cities have similar agencies because Taiwan affairs are considered of major importance.

    The president pointed out that with the many close exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, cross-strait relations are no longer a purely political issue, but have become a comprehensive challenge.

    Whether it is disease control, cracking down on crime, education rights for children of Taiwan business people operating on the mainland, veterans retiring to the mainland in their old age, or the registration and employment of mainland Chinese brides marrying Taiwanese residents, "every one of these is related to our every aspect of life," the president said.

    For this reason, President Chen said that every government agency, even local governments, should regularly review new issues arising from cross-strait interchanges so that current affairs can be taken into account. This will make each agency more responsible, he added.

    Meanwhile, the president also said he was confident that his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would do well in the year-end legislative elections.

    He noted the during his first term, although he won the presidential election and his DPP became the largest party in the legislature, his administration had difficulties getting its policies enacted because of resistance from the opposition "pan-blue alliance, " which still commanded a slight majority in the legislature.

    However, President Chen said that he expects that the DPP will win enough seats in the elections to become the dominant force in the legislature, noting that if this happens, it would be the first time in Taiwan's political history that the same party or party coalition will have had controlling power in both the executive and legislative branches under a fully democratic system.

    The president also pointed out that with more power comes greater responsibility and the need for restraint, adding that in the future, whether it is the formulation of a policy, the mapping out of a bill, or the review of an agenda, the government must do everything in its power to meet the high expectations of the public.

    He noted that Taiwan's transformation into a democratic nation has been completed in a short period of around 30 years, compared with the experience of other Western countries, which took about 100 years to complete the process. He said that given this fact, Taiwan definitely faces more daunting tasks and pressure in its development.

(By Lilian Wu)


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