Chen backs ‘normal nation’ resolution: Yu

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Chen Shui-bian approves of the adoption of the controversial “normal nation resolution” at the Democratic Progressive Party’s national congress, outgoing chairman Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday. After a closed-doors meeting with President Chen, Yu told the press they were agreed that the resolution has to be passed at the national congress scheduled for Sunday. “The president wants the party congress to pass the resolution,” Yu declared. But Yu did not specify which version of the resolution President Chen has agreed to be adopted. There are now two versions of the resolution, which Beijing considers a move toward de jure independence of Taiwan. The DPP central executive council adopted the resolution on August 27. It identifies four major threats Taiwan is facing, China being the greatest one, and offers solutions. It paves the way for a new constitution President Chen wants to give Taiwan before he steps down on May 20 next year. The outgoing DPP chairman wants to hitch a rider to the August 27 resolution. He insists that the resolution state clearly the rightful name of that normal nation is Taiwan. His Taiwan version of the resolution may be adopted at the national party congress at the end of this month. More than 180 delegates, close to a simple majority, have endorsed it. The chances are that the Yu version will be debated and may be put to a vote.

“If more delegates endorse the Taiwan version,” a DPP source said, “it may be adopted, come Sunday.” That will crown Yu’s effort with success. Yu, who announced his resignation last Friday, has promised to leave office as soon as the party congress is over.

He made the announcement in Toronto immediately after he learned he was indicted for embezzlement, charged with misusing his expense account while he was premier from two years until 2006.

The Yu-Chen meeting took place the day after the DPP chairman returned from Canada. Yu has to preside over a DPP central standing committee meeting today, where the Taiwan version of the resolution and his stay in office until the conclusion of the party congress will be debated. There is a ground swell in the ruling party to make Yu stay on after the party congress. “More and more delegates are calling for the outgoing chairman to remain in office until after next year’s two elections,” said a DPP heavyweight, who is also a delegate to the Sunday congress. Voters will go to the polls to elect a new Legislative Yuan on January 12 and a new president on March 22. These Yu supporters do not want President Chen to double as DPP chairman.

Frank Hsieh, DPP candidate for president, and his running mate Su Tseng-chang support Chen for party chairman.

“It won’t be easy to get Yu to stay that long,” admitted the DPP heavyweight, who preferred to remain unidentified. “But,” he added, “there may be a compromise — such as to keep him until after the legislative elections are held.” There certainly is resistance among the party file and rank to a new Chen-Hsieh-Su axis. Yu, who used to be President Chen’s henchman, is leading the opposition to the Chen-dominated new triumvirate. In the end, however, all this may end like a teapot tempest. Under pressure from the triumvirate, the party congress is likely to reject the Yu version of the resolution and mollify its indignant outgoing chairman with some sop.