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U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE TACITLY ENDORSES TAIWAN'S REFERENDUM: DPP

2004-02-12 16:16:24

    Taipei, Feb. 12 (CNA) United States Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks on Taiwan's referendum amount to tacit approval and are welcome, a legislator of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Thursday.

    Powell, testifying to the House International Relations Committee Wednesday, said, "We don't really see a need for these referendums, but Taiwan is a democratic country, and if they choose to have a referendum, they can have a referendum. We made it clear to them, however, that we do not want to see these actions lead in any way to a change in the situation."

    DPP legislative whip Lee Chun-yi said that Powell's comments "showed high respect for Taiwan's democracy, " and the DPP caucus "welcomes them."

    Lee also said that when Powell said, "We don't really see a need for these referendums, " he was actually speaking for the benefit of the leaders in mainland China so that "they would keep their mouths shut." Beijing has expressed serious concern over the scheduled March 20 referendum to be held alongside the presidential election.

    He also said that the United States has made its stance clear that no country has the power to meddle in Taiwan's referendum, and Powell saying, "Taiwan is a democratic place, and if they choose to have a referendum, they can have a referendum, " is a form of endorsement for Taiwan's planned nationwide vote.

    Lee stressed that Powell's remarks are in line with the interests of the United States and Taiwan.

    Lee added that opposition parties ought to see just how far democratization in Taiwan has come, and should cooperate with the government to help complete, instead of trying to obstruct, the first nationwide referendum in Taiwan's history.

(By Lilian Wu)emditem/mw



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