Tuesday, March 30, 2004

# Posted 6:17 AM by Patrick Belton  

TAIWAN PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BAN, emboldened by his narrow election victory and angered by Chinese efforts to intervene in his island's domestic politics, yesterday gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he stated his intention to push for independence:
I think the key issue is not that I personally refuse to accept the "one China" principle. It's the 23 million people of Taiwan who cannot accept the so-called "one China" principle.

If they insist on having dialogue and consultation based on such a precondition, the "one China" principle, I think it will be rather difficult for both sides to sit down and talk.

Therefore, in the year 2006, we will hasten the birth of a new constitution for Taiwan, and in 2008, we intend to enact this new constitution, a tailor-made, efficient constitution that is suitable for Taiwan. And this is just a timetable for our constitutional reform. It is not a timetable for independence or any attempt to change our status quo.
It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Taiwan, as an island of democracy and liberalism which has come far in the past decade toward modernity. Still, the current course which President Chen has set toward steers quite close to a military conflict in the Straits, in which the legal and moral duty of our nation would and ought to be on the side of a free allied republic against nuclear-armed China - a possibility no one can contemplate without trouble.
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