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WASHINGTON'S STANCE ON TAIWAN'S REFERENDUM UNCHANGED: U.S. OFFICIAL

2004-01-03 16:08:18

    Washington, Jan 2(CNA) The United States is consistent and unchanged on its position that it is opposed to any referendum in Taiwan aimed at changing the status quo, deputy spokesman for the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State Department Adam Ereli said Friday.

    Ereli made the comments at a daily briefing. He reiterated that the United States would like to see Taipei and Beijing solve their problems through dialogue.

    The deputy spokesman's remarks at the year-end briefing Dec. 31 prompted some confusion in Taiwan about what the official U.S. position might be on Taiwan's proposed referendum since Ereli said that the United States opposes any measures that will affect the status quo of the Taiwan Strait, including the proposed referendum.

    Nevertheless, Friday Ereli attributed the confusion in Taiwan about the U.S. stance on the referendum to various news reports and said that he would not make any new comments on the referendum. "I am not going to say anything new today that we haven't said in the past on the subject of referendum or other unilateral moves to change the status quo," he said, adding that "if there is confusion, I am not in a position to clarify things at this point."

    Asked whether Washington has decided to oppose Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on March 20 of this year, the official said that the United States' position has not changed. "There's a lot being reported about what Taiwan may or may not do. And our point is that dialogue is the way to go, unilateral actions are something we oppose. And I think that's pretty clear," he added.

    In response to question regarding whether the U.S. government considers that the proposed referendum in Taiwan as something that would change the status quo, Ereli said that he was not in a position to comment on what the latest form of the referendum is. "That is a moving target, frankly. And it's not something that I really want to comment on every day, because the referenda that's being discussed seems to change every day," he said. "I think the point that we make consistently and that is not going to change is that referenda that are aimed at changing the status quo are something that we oppose," Ereli continued, indicating that "we believe that dialogue is the way to solve this issue, and that's what we are urging both sides to engage in."

(By Jay Chen and P.C. Tang)

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