Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) urged Beijing yesterday to stop using "mistaken perspective" to judge the political development of Taiwan, a practice he said would leave little hope for cross-Taiwan Strait relations to improve.
Wu made the remarks at a news conference in response to an accusation by China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is trying to promote "de jure independence" for Taiwan by repeating his timetable for a new constitution.
In his New Year address, Chen renewed his proposal for the enactment of a new constitution that he said is timely, relevant and viable by 2008, saying he hopes a draft of the new constitution can be completed this year and that a referendum on the draft can be held in 2007.
Claiming the next round of constitutional reforms will have nothing to do with promoting "de jure independence," Wu noted that the government has on many occasions explained that the reforms are necessary to enhance the country's governance. He pointed out that the existing Constitution is neither fully parliamentary nor presidential and has caused major chaos in politics in recent years.
In addition to changes to the system of government, issues to be addressed in the next round of constitutional reforms may include enhancing the liberties to which the people are entitled, introducing a voluntary military service system and lowering the voting age from 20 to 18, Wu said.
Commenting on Li's statement that "peaceful unification" and "one country, two systems" remain China's basic guidelines toward relations with Taiwan, Wu said the statement signifies a "severe regression" in Beijing's political stance with regard to Taiwan.
He noted that Chinese officials seldom mentioned these guidelines last year but have repeated the terms frequently since the start of this year.