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ROC PRESIDENT CONFIDENT OF WINNING RE-ELECTION

2004-02-21 13:52:31

    Tokyo, Feb. 21 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Friday that he is confident he and Vice President Annette Lu will win a second term in the March 20 presidential election, although he admitted that the campaign is very tough.

    The president made the comments in an interview with the Japanese Asahi TV Station. The content of the interview was broadcast by the station's "News Station" program Friday night.

    Describing the election campaign as very tough and saying that the contest may be decided by a razor-thin margin of only 3 percent to 5 percent of the vote, Chen said that nevertheless, he and Lu will certainly win the campaign.

    Mainland China wants to use force to change Taiwan's status quo, the president said in the interview, adding that the island should have the right and opportunity to say "no" to the mainland.

    Chen also hopes that the people of Taiwan will be able to decide the definitive version of the Constitution by holding another referendum by 2006.

    Saying that Taiwan's first referendum, to be held concurrently with the presidential election March 20, is aimed at maintaining the country's status quo as well as protecting the nation's sovereignty, democratic development and economic prosperity, the president said that it is also designed to maintain the cross-Taiwan Strait status quo.

    Saying that Taiwan has the same goals as those of Japan, the United States and France, the president said that all Taiwan wants is to maintain the status quo.

    Before televising the interview, the program also introduced Chen as the leader of the 23 million people of Taiwan and the person who makes the mainland the most nervous.

    Analyzing the reasons for Beijing's nervousness, the program said the mainland is worried that Chen's actions will lead Taiwan to independence if he wins a second term.

(By C.C. Huang and P.C. Tang)

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