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ROC Central News Agency

2005-08-09 22:47:03

    Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) A pro-independence group announced Tuesday it will organize a march in Taipei Sept. 25 to push the opposition-controlled Legislative Yuan to pass a long-stalled arms procurement package as early as possible to meet the nation's defense needs.

    The Hand-in-Hand-to-Protect-Taiwan Alliance said the march is being organized in connection with the convening of the fifth annual congress of the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations in Taipei.

    Ng Chiau-tong, the alliance's convener, said the march is aimed at urging the opposition "pan-blue alliance" of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) to put aside partisan bickering and pass the two arms procurement package-related bills for the sake of beefing up Taiwan's defense capabilities in the face of China's ever-growing threat.

    The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its "pan-green" ally -- the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- both of which prioritize "Taiwan identity" in their platforms, said they will mobilize their party members to take part in the march.

    Both DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and TSU Chairman Su Jin-chiang attended the news conference hosted by Ng to threw their support behind the planned parade.

    The two bills in question will pave the way for procuring eight diesel-electric submarines, six Patriot PAC III anti-missile batteries and a squadron of 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft from the United States. One bill will authorize the administration to prepare a special budget for the NT$480 billion arms procurement package over a period of 15 years, the other bill is regarding budget appropriations for the package.

    The "pan-blue alliance" has used its slim majority in the legislature to block the two bills from being put on the legislative agenda for two legislative sessions.

(By Sofia Wu)ednitem/mw


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