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President Chen Meets with Leaders from the Council for Industrial and Commercial Development

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) Nearly one year into his term, President Chen Shui-bian stated his achievements Thursday and urged his countrymen to join the government in hunkering down through the current economic hardship. 

In a meeting with leaders from the Council for Industrial and Commercial Development, Chen took credit for the arms sales package offered by Washington last week to Taiwan, billed as the most significant since 1992. 

Many of the weapons had been on Taiwan's shopping list for almost a decade but were not granted by the United States until his "public and private, direct and indirect" lobbying efforts, Chen claimed. 

The arms sales underline the increasing realization of U.S. leaders to the fact that the military balance across the Taiwan Straits is a guarantee of not only the peace between Taiwan and mainland China but also the stability in the region, Chen said. 

Diplomacy is another field in which great progress has made since he came to power, according to Chen. The island's ties with Washington have become stronger and have "proceeded on many fronts toward his vision," said Chen, without elaborating. He said he would not be surprised to be accorded better treatment than before by the United States when he makes a transit stop there later this month on his way to visit Central America. 

Chen also claimed that the fact that worry about the economic slowdown has eclipsed worry about the island's ties with Beijing indicates that his efforts to stabilize relations with Beijing have been successful. 

Although there has been no breakthrough in the cross-strait situation, there has been no worsening of the situation, Chen argued. Chen also counted last week the "nationalization" of the armed forces as one of his greatest achievements and expressed thanks to Defense Minister Wu Shih-wen. 



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