DPP candidate confident of landslide in presidential election
2007-12-18 22:44:35

    Tokyo, Dec. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh said here Tuesday that he is confident of a landslide victory in the March 22 election, expressing the hope that he will beat his rival, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT), by 250,000 votes.

    Hsieh, who is in Japan for a four-day visit, made the remarks at a news conference after delivering a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

    On the Jan. 12 legislative elections, he said the DPP estimates it can capture 50 seats in the streamlined 113-seat legislature.

    On the widening gap between Taiwan's rich and poor, Hsieh said the KMT encourages manufacturers to invest in China and claimed that this leads to rising unemployment, while his policy is to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, claiming that this means factories will not have to make an exodus overseas too soon.

    He also said that both he and President Chen Shui-bian advocate Taiwan's independent sovereignty but that he differs from Chen on economic issues such as relaxing restrictions on locals investing in China.

    Addressing the concerns related to constitutional re-engineering, he said that according to the Constitution, constitutional amendments require the consent of three-quarters of the legislators. As the DPP is aiming at 50 seats in the legislature, constitutional amendment will be beyond the means of the DPP and therefore there should be no concern about resultant cross-Taiwan Strait tensions.

    He claimed that although China insists on its "one China" principle, if he is elected, China will "have to" respect the will of the Taiwan people, who will never accept the terms of "one China."

    He pointed out that China will face a litany of challenges in the coming 20 years, such as the issues of environmental protection, the widening wealth gap and other social and economic woes.

    Taiwan went through all these problems and maybe it can be of assistance. It is not good for China to isolate Taiwan, Hsieh said, expressing the hope that China will treat minor countries peacefully in keeping with its "international responsibility."

    He also criticized Ma for not speaking up for Taiwan during a visit he made to Japan last month and his description of the DPP as a "troublemaker," which he described as "not fair." Hsieh described his party as "a creator of a cultural and peace miracle."

    Hsieh later called on Takeo Hiranuma, president of the Alliance for Japan-ROC Friendship, and 21 members of the alliance, a pro-Taiwan group of congressmen and senators.

    Hiranuma wished Hsieh victory in the election. Former Defense Minister and now congresswoman Yuriko Koike was also on hand to greet Hsieh.

    Hsieh said that if he is elected president, he is sure that the DPP will become the dominant force in the legislature, because if the KMT loses, the party will splinter into Chinese Nationalist Party and the Taiwanese Nationalist Party, and Chinese influence will gradually fade from Taiwan politics, leading to the nation moving toward the path of normalization.

    Hsieh said the ratio of those who identify themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese was 30 percent in 2000 when President Chen Shui-bian won his first election with 39.5 percent of the votes.

    In 2004, the ratio of those of those who identify themselves as Taiwanese rose to 46 percent, and Chen was re-elected with 50.1 percent of the votes.

    Although recent public opinion polls on the issue vary, with the figures standing at around 70 percent or at least over 62 percent, Hsieh said he is confident of an overwhelming victory in the election.

    Senator Yasuhiro Oe noted that Ma said during his visit that he knows Japan, but Oe said Japan needs a pro-Japan president for Taiwan.

     Ma is generally considered to hold a tough stance on such issues

as conflicting fishery rights and Japanese claims on the

controversial Tiaoyutais Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in

Japan.

    Hsieh then called on former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to exchange views on the cross-strait situation.

(By Mike Chang, Yang Ming-chu and Lilian Wu)

ENDITEM/J

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