Taipei, July 27 (CNA) A politician on Monday accused former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) of treason for his recent remarks on the Diaoyutai Islands, as ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers threatened to revoke Lee's privileges as a former head of state.
"If he (Lee) wants to enjoy the perks, he should go to Japan," said Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), executive director of the KMT policy committee and head of the party's caucus in the Legislative Yuan.
Lai said Lee's taxpayer-financed annual stipend of NT$10 million (US$317,000) should be cut off because his remarks in Japan had damaged Taiwan's rights and humiliated Taiwan's reputation.
The KMT caucus will do whatever it can, including reporting Lee to the Control Yuan and amending the law, to prevent him from receiving any benefits in the future, Lai said.
It will be difficult, however, to push through legal changes that would deprive Lee of his benefits as a former president, said one observer, in part because the current legislature has only a fall session left before a new one is elected in January.
Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), another KMT legislator, said the comments made by the former president were tantamount to rebellion and treason.
He would be happy to see Lee taken to court for "disgracing our nation" in front of the Japanese, Wu said.
According to the Act of Courtesy for Former Presidents and Vice Presidents, their privileges shall cease if they are found guilty in a first-instance judgment of the offense of insurrection or foreign aggression.
While lawmakers were criticizing the former president, New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) filed a complaint against Lee at the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, saying the former president "betrayed the Republic of China (Taiwan) by claiming the Diaoyutai Islands belong to Japan during his trip to Japan last week."
Appearing at the press conference organized by Lai and Wu, Perry Pei-hwang Shen (申佩璜), a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, said that the Diaoyutai Islands are the inherent territory of the R.O.C and that the government's position on this issue has never changed.
The government will continue to seek the return of those islands, which are now under Japanese control, he said.
Lee, the ROC's first Taiwanese-born president, lived under Japanese rule as a boy and has been known to have strong leanings toward Taiwan's former colonial ruler. His latest comments on the sovereignty of the Diaoyutais contradicted his stated position when he was president.
(By Tai Ya-chen, Liu Shi-yi, Tung Ning and Ken Chao)ENDITEM/ls