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PROCEEDINGS FOR REFERENDUM DUE IN 26 DAYS: CABINET SPOKESMAN

2004-01-16 23:07:13

    Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) The government will complete all arrangements and preparations for the referendum slated for March 20 in 26 days, Executive Yuan spokesman Lin Chia-lung said Friday.

    Lin made the remarks shortly after President Chen Shui-bian announced the contents of his planned referendum to coincide with the presidential election day.

    According to Lin, Premier Yu Shyi-kun has instructed that all administrative proceedings by relevant government agencies must be completed as quickly as possible. In line with the government's programming at the current pace, the administration is expected to complete all related matters in 26 days, he said.

    Relevant government agencies will kick off all necessary preparations, arrangements and publicity immediately after the Chinese New Year holiday season concludes later this month to ensure that the referendum called by President Chen -- the first one in Taiwan's history -- will be held smoothly according to schedule, he said.

    The main purpose of the referendum is to protect Taiwan's status-quo, which has nothing to do with the independence-unification dispute and is by no means a move to advocate Taiwan independence, Chen has repeatedly reiterated.

    According to Chen, two questions to be contained in the March 20 referendum are as follows:

    The people of Taiwan demand that the Taiwan Strait issue be resolved through peaceful means. Should mainland China refuse to withdraw the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan and to openly renounce the use of force against us, would you agree that the government should acquire more advanced anti-missile weapons to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense capabilities?

    Would you agree that our government should engage in negotiation with mainland China on the establishment of a "peace and stability" framework for cross-strait interactions in order to build consensus and for the welfare of the people on both sides?

(By Flor Wang)

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