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REFERENDUM IS STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH BEIJING: VICE PRESIDENT

2004-02-16 20:34:00

    Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu said Monday that President Chen Shui-bian's call for a referendum March 20 alongside the presidential election is a strategy for dealing with Beijing.

    Speaking at rallies in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County of supporters of the Chen-Lu ticket, who are seeking re-election in the upcoming presidential race, Lu said that the referendum is aimed at making the people aware of Beijing's missile threat against Taiwan and thus increasing their anti-missile sentiment on the one hand, while seeking to hold "peaceful talks" with Beijing on the other.

    Lu claimed that if Chen had not called the referendum, a majority of Taiwan people might not have noticed that Beijing has deployed nearly 500 missiles targeting Taiwan.

    The referendum will also help obtain international support for asking Beijing to dismantle the missiles, she continued. "Taiwan is not a part of China," Lu stressed, adding that it is a maritime country and that she will suggest that the Executive Yuan establish a ministry of oceanic affairs.

    Beijing opposes Taiwan's planned referendum because it is afraid Hong Kong and Tibet will follow in Taiwan's footsteps, according to the vice president.

    Chen has placed two questions to be voted on in the referendum: Should the government buy new anti-missile systems to counter Beijing's increasing build-up of missiles targeting Taiwan? And should the government open talks with Beijing to establish a peaceful and stable framework for cross-Taiwan Strait interaction?

(By Huang Kwang-chun)

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