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HOLDING REFERENDUM IS TO MAINTAIN TAIWAN'S SOVEREIGNTY: PRESIDENT

2004-02-08 22:45:56

    Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian claimed Sunday that his call to hold a referendum March 20 is to maintain Taiwan's sovereignty.

    Chen made the remarks at a campaign rally held in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan in which a group of taxi drivers expressed their support for Chen's re-election bid.

    Noting that holding a referendum is a basic right of the people and an universal value, Chen said that the move is aimed at maintaining Taiwan's sovereignty, democracy, economic prosperity and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

    The president is placing two questions to votes for the planned referendum to coincide with the presidential election: -- "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 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 interaction in order to build consensus and for the welfare of the peoples of both sides?"

    On the other aspect, Chen painted a rosy prospects for Taiwan's economy, predicting that the country's economic growth will top five percent this year, while its unemployment rate will fall to four percent.

(By Huang Kwang-chun)

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