VICE PRESIDENT LASHES OUT AT CHIRAC'S COMMENTS ON REFERENDUM
Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu was critical Wednesday about the comments made by French President Jacques Chirac regarding Taiwan's referendum plan, saying that his statement is against the democratic founding spirit of France.
Lu made the remarks during an informal gathering with reporters at her office in the presidential building.
The vice president said that although Chirac's comments "sent a chill through Taiwan," spring will come soon.
The French president said during a dinner party Monday in Paris with his mainland Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, that Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum is wrong and that such a move will damage peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, costing Taiwan a huge price. The two men also signed a joint communique Tuesday to express France's opposition to Taiwan's planned referendum.
Pointing out that Chirac might have made the remarks out of France's concerns for a global strategic deployment and its ambition to cash in on the vast mainland Chinese market, the vice president said that President Chen Shui-bian and herself will by no means be affected by his words.
Lu said they are devoted to serving the people of Taiwan by doing the right thing and she called for widespread public support for the projected referendum. "The Taiwan people will win global respect for their determination to go to the referendum," she added.
Lu accused Chirac of damaging his country's national dignity and its founding spirit by issuing the statement disparaging Taiwan's referendum plan, as France is one of the world's greatest democracies.
Lu said she is confident that all the current woes will come to an end after the referendum is held on March 20 along with the presidential election, and she urged Taiwan people to cherish the opportunity to carry out the "divine" practice which only exits in a full-fledged democracy.
Voters who go to polling stations on March 20 to elect the next president will also receive two referendum ballots allowing them to answer "yes" or "no" to two questions: Should Taiwan buy more anti-missile arms in view of Beijing's missile threat; and should the government seek to start cross-Taiwan Strait negotiations on building mechanisms to forge mutual benefits for the people on both sides.
(By Flor Wang)
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