DPP WANTS NEW KMT HEAD TO SHOW HIS HAND ON ARMS PURCHASE
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 23 (CNA) A ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said Tuesday that the opposition Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou should express his attitude toward the stalled arms procurement package from the United States.
Chen Ching-chun, the whip of the DPP's legislative caucus, made the remarks after Ma said in response to a call by President Chen Shui-bian for talks on the arms procurement package that there is no need for him to have such a meeting with Chen on this issue, as the procurement bill should be discussed in the legislature.
Ma took the helm of the KMT Aug. 19 from his predecessor Lien Chan.
The legislator noted that the bill has been blocked in the legislature by the opposition for more than a year, due largely to objections from Lien, who was defeated twice by Chen in presidential elections.
Chen said that as Ma might compete in the 2008 presidential election, the public expects to know about his attitude toward national security.
Noting that the cross-Taiwan Strait military balance has been tilting heavily in China's favor, he urged Ma not to shirk "his responsibility" on national security.
Meanwhile, Cho Po-yuan, the whip of the KMT legislative caucus, claimed that the KMT's stonewalling of the arms purchase budget is "rational supervision" with the aim of not wasting taxpayers' money.
In addition, Cho went on, the legislature is the main battleground of opposition parties and it is quite natural in a democratic society that the arms procurement plan will be decided by lawmakers rather than leaders of any political party.
The KMT is most concerned about the welfare of the people and will not bow to pressure from the United States, Cho claimed.
Cho said the KMT caucus will listen to a briefing from the National Defense Ministry on the arms procurement in the next few days.
(By Elisa Kao)
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