Friday, November 11, 2005

Pro-China parties vote down Patriot Missile Budget

Taiwan government news reports:

The legislative national defense committee ruled on Wednesday to cancel two budgets set aside for weapons procurement -- NT$10.9 billion earmarked for three PAC-III Patriot anti-missile systems and NT$40 million of preparatory funds for the purchase of twelve P-3C anti-submarine patrol aircrafts.

In support of their decision to cancel the funding, opposition party lawmakers cited the results of the referendum held in tandem with the 2004 presidential elections that failed to garner the necessary majority required to validate the proposal. They went on to say that the government should respect the people's choice as Taiwanese citizens to "veto the purchase of anti-missile weapons systems from the United States."

When approached to comment on the subject, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) said that the upcoming joint committee meeting could still reverse the verdict. He added that the committee had also suggested the Ministry of National Defense reassess the annual budget of 58 proposals it had abandoned to make space for the arms procurement package, and that these proposals be discussed at future meetings.

"(The lawmakers are) simply barbaric," said Huang Shih-cho of the Taiwan Solidarity Union. His words were mirrored by Chet Yang, secretary of Taiwan North Society who said, "(The Taiwanese) cannot continue to live at the mercy of these so-called legislators."

Yang said that Beijing is constantly strengthening its military and estimated that, by year's end, there may be one thousand missiles pointed toward Taiwan. He urged the public to support the purchase so Taiwan could protect itself.

On Wednesday evening Huang and Yang were both at Taipei's 2/28 Memorial Park speaking in support of last week's fundraiser organized by the Taiwan North Society that asked citizens to "donate NT$100 and safeguard Taiwan." The event, designed to assist the government in raising funds for weapon procurement, raised over NT$30,000.

Taiwan North Society announced the public could still make donations by dialing their hotline at (02)-412-1099.
Actually, the referendum was approved by those who voted for it. But an orchestrated campaign by the pro-China parties kept down the number of voters, below the 50% requirement. The pan-Blues, as usual, are making a specious argument, the only kind they know.

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