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REFERENDUM IS TO SEEK `ETERNAL PEACE' IN TAIWAN STRAIT: VP

2004-01-31 19:04:38

    Taipei, Jan. 31 (CNA) Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum March 20 to coincide with the presidential election is aimed at seeking "eternal cross-Taiwan Strait peace, " Vice President Annette Lu said Saturday.

    Addressing a campaign rally in Chungho, Taipei County, Lu said that the meaning of the referendum initiated by President Chen Shui-bian should not be distorted as a means for seeking Taiwan independence.

    Taiwan is already an independent sovereign nation, Lu noted, adding that it is therefore not necessary for Taiwan to seek independence.

    She criticized mainland China for deploying nearly 500 missiles against Taiwan, saying that it represents Beijing's intention of taking Taiwan by force.

    Beijing opposes Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum because it is afraid that both Tibet and Hong Kong will follow in Taiwan's footsteps, according to Lu.

    The referendum, which the government says will not alter the cross-Taiwan Strait status quo, will ask Taiwan's voters if they agree or disagree that the country should further bolster its anti-missile defenses and if they think the government should begin negotiations with mainland China on setting up a framework for peace for the mutual benefit of the people on both sides of the strait.

    Lu has been chosen again by Chen to serve as his running mate in the upcoming presidential race.

(By Huang Kwang-chun)

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