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U.S. NOT OPPOSED TO REFERENDUM: DPP LEGISLATOR

2004-02-10 16:18:39

    Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) The United States is not opposed to Taiwan's planned referendum on March 20, although it will continue to observe what Taiwan does after the nationwide vote, a legislator of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Tuesday upon returning from a trip to the United States.

    Legislator Parris Chang held a press conference on the results of his U.S. mission, undertaken with members of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs Committee, to better understand the sentiments of U.S. officials regarding the upcoming referendum in Taiwan.

    Chang said that recent remarks by Republic of China representative to the U.S. Chen Chien-jen to the Legislative Yuan had been misreported by Taiwan media. Reports had said that Chen had said that relations with the United States were in unprecedentedly bad shape, when in fact what he only said that relations were "unprecedented." Chang said that no U.S. officials he spoke with felt that relations were in bad shape. 'The U.S. did have some questions about Taiwan's referendum at first, although the overall relationship is good," Chang said. "After weeks of bilateral communications and the announcement of the questions to be on the referendum, the U.S. response has been very positive," he added.

    The U.S. feels that the referendum is an internal affair for Taiwan, Chang said.

    Chang said that the United States is concerned about the referendum mainly because it will surely have to intervene if mainland China uses forces against Taiwan.

    He also criticized the "pan-blue alliance" for claiming that the United States will punish Taiwan for holding the referendum, asking why the United States would oppose the referendum.

    He said that the U.S. is concerned about Taiwan's referendum, but believes that it is a democratic country and will decide by itself what to do. "The U.S. will continue to observe Taiwan, listen to what it says and observe its deeds and will not oppose the referendum, " Chang said.

    He said that what the United States cares about is not the two questions on the referendum, but what President Chen will do after winning re-election, including whether his inaugural speech will continue to mention the "four noes plus one" -- which include no referendum regarding the nation's future status as to whether to declare independence or unification with mainland China -- and the writing of a new constitution.

    After President Chen wins re-election, he will continue to communicate with the United States, Chang said.

    Meanwhile, other legislators, including John Chang and Sun Kuo-hua of the Kuomintang, who went with Chang to call on U.S. State Department officials, congressmen and scholars in the United States, said that the United States still is seriously concerned about Taiwan's planned referendum, and has not accepted or endorsed the referendum.

(By Lilian Wu)

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