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U.S. HAS MADE ITS POSITION ON TAIWAN'S REFERENDUM CLEAR: STATE DEP'T

2004-02-10 11:35:47

    Washington, Feb. 9 (CNA) A U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday that the United States has already made clear its stance on Taiwan's planned referendum.

    Richard Boucher made the comments while responding to questions at a daily press briefing.

    Taiwan's government has decided to hold a referendum on the day of the presidential election set for this March 20.

    Asked whether Washington has received any messages from Beijing requesting that it put more pressure on Taiwan regarding the island's referendum plan, Boucher said he has not seen any such messages and does not know if such requests have been made privately. "But I think between the secretary of state, the president, and (Deputy Secretary of State Richard) Armitage, we've been fairly outspoken on the subject recently," he added.

    Mainland Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong said last Friday in an interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal that Washington should make further public statements to avoid giving Taiwan the impression that America supports its referendum.

    The newspaper also said that Beijing wants Washington to put pressure on the island over its planned referendum, suggesting that "determined American opposition to the ballot may forestall a tough Chinese response, possibly military action, against Taiwan."

    Washington has reiterated that it is not opposed to a referendum in itself, but instead is opposed to any actions that change the current cross-Taiwan strait status quo.

(By W.J. Lin and P.C. Tang)

Enditem/Li



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