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REFERENDUM WILL NOT ALTER STATUS QUO IN TAIWAN STRAIT: PREMIER

2004-01-31 15:33:09

    Taipei, Jan. 31 (CNA) Premier Yu Shyi-kun touted the administration's economic achievements Saturday in Tainan, southern Taiwan, and reiterated the government's claim that the planned referendum will not alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait in an attempt to alleviate concern among several neighboring states and in the United States.

    Speaking at a seminar with a group of Taiwan businessmen with operations in mainland China, the premier was promoting the efficiency of his administration over the last three years.

    He mentioned the rapid recovery of economic prospects, the dive of local banks' overall bad loan ratio, the improvement of drinking water in the Kaohsiung metropolitan area, the completion of the Central Taiwan Science-based Industrial Park, the economic turnaround of loss-making state firms and the advancement of the country's rankings in various international ratings on competitiveness and investment environment.

    In order to upgrade the country's economy, Yu said his administration is pushing through a program to develop the country into a worldwide business operation center for multinational firms, and has attracted 177 local and foreign firms to make Taiwan their global business headquarters.

    He held out hopes of allowing Taiwanese firms in the mainland to raise funds in Taiwan, saying that his administration is studying measures to phase out the current ban on such firms being listed on the local bourse. Hopefully well-conceived measures can do away with the ban without draining the local financial market of capital and destabilizing the country's economy, he said.

    He also defended President Chen Shui-bian's call for a referendum, even though it has raised concern in several countries, including the United States, arguing that the referendum will not touch on the issue of Taiwan independence.

    It is only a measure to reinforce the country's democracy and to show the opinion of Taiwan people to the mainland, so Beijing should not make a fuss about it and strain relations with Taiwan, Yu said.

(By Maubo Chang)

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