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CONCERN ABOUT POSSIBLE CROSS-STRAIT CONFLICT OVER REFERENDUM: POLL

2004-01-11 15:57:38

    Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) More than half of the respondents to a recent public opinion poll said they are worried about the possibility of a military conflict across the Taiwan Strait due to Taiwan's referendum plan, an opposition lawmaker said Sunday.

    Legislator Sun Guo-hua of the Kuomintang (KMT) said that even though President Chen Shui-bian said his plan to hold a referendum concerning mainland China's missile deployment against Taiwan to coincide with the March 20 presidential election is purely a domestic affair and should not be subject to foreign interference, many local people are worried about the scenario of a cross-strait military conflict being ignited as a result of the referendum.

    Quoting the results of a telephone poll conducted by the KMT legislative caucus from Jan. 5-7, Sun said 52.86 percent of the respondents said they are afraid that mismanagement of the referendum issue could trigger a cross-strait conflict, while 37 percent said they do not see such a possibility.

    A total of 1,154 valid samples were collected in the poll, with a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

    Nearly 46 percent said they think Chen will drop his referendum plan under U.S. pressure, while 45 percent said the referendum controversy illustrates Chen's ineptitude in handling international affairs.

    According to the poll, 49 percent said they see no need to hold the planned referendum and about 52 percent said that if Chen's administration insists on holding the referendum, Taiwan's relations with the United States, Japan and the Europe Union are likely to be hurt.

    Meanwhile, the opposition People First Party legislative caucus demanded that Chen immediately unveil for public scrutiny the exact wording of the topics to be put forth in the planned referendum.

(By Sofia Wu)

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