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Chen wants new Taiwan constitution - Report

Written by: Staff

Tokyo, Mar 4: Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian, who on Monday scrapped guidelines on unification with China, is determined to draft a new constitution that better suits Taiwan's current situation, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said today (Mar 4, 2006).

China has sharply criticised Chen's independence-minded stance, and his abandoning of a council and guidelines focused on ultimate reunification drew harsh warnings from Beijing.

In an interview with the conservative Yomiuri conducted in Taipei yesterday, Chen said he was resolved to draft a new constitution but avoided comment on whether the new document would include phrases changing the status quo in Taiwan, including its official name, the Republic of China..

"I'll push forward with procedures for a new constitution that is more suited to Taiwan's present circumstances," Chen was quoted as saying.

He added that, while carrying out such a move before his term in office ends in 2008 may be difficult, it is not impossible.

Chen also indicated that five promises he had made in his inaugural address in 2000, which included maintaining the unification council and guidelines, were no longer valid because the conditions on which they were based no longer existed.

"The precondition was as long as China had no intention of using military force against Taiwan," Chen was quoted as saying.

"However, China's intention to invade Taiwan is visible now," he added, noting that the number of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan had increased to some 784 over the past few years.

Beijing has considered Taiwan a breakaway province since their split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. It has threatened force if the island formally declares independence.

A top Chinese Communist Party leader said yesterday that Beijing would block any moves towards Taiwan independence but would work for a peaceful solution to the stand-off.


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