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Taiwan's ruling party slows down plans for constitutional reform

Taiwan's ruling party slows down plans for constitutional reform

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's party on Wednesday failed to come up with a blueprint for constitutional change that could have angered rival China and worried the United States.
Chen recently said constitutional reform was one of his priorities in the remaining 19 months of his term, but without specifying what he wants to change.
Beijing has repeatedly warned Chen against altering Taiwan's status to reflect its more than 50 years of self-rule. China has claimed sovereignty over the island since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
Chinese leaders regularly threaten force should Taiwan move toward formalizing its de facto independence.
The U.S. State Department has also spoken out against amendments changing Taiwan's status, as Washington is concerned that far-reaching changes will enrage Beijing and drag American forces into an armed conflict. The U.S. has long promised to provide Taiwan with weapons needed to defend against a Chinese attack. Washington has also hinted it would join the war if China invades.
Chen's Democratic Progressive Party met Wednesday to discuss constitutional proposals, but instead of presenting a finished blueprint, it decided to continue the discussion at another meeting next month, the party said in a statement without elaborating.
"You don't have to approve (constitutional proposals) in a hurry, communication is still necessary," prominent DPP member Frank Hsieh told reporters. "If you want changes to be passed, you have to compromise."
Hsieh alluded to the difficult task of any amendments winning the necessary approval of three-quarters of the Legislature, where the opposition holds a slim majority of the 221 seats.
The two main opposition parties, the Nationalists and the smaller People First Party, strongly oppose formal independence, and favor eventual unification with China, though without specifying a timetable.


Updated : 2021-03-02 15:39 GMT+08:00