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GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN WELCOMES AIT CHIEF'S STATEMENT ABOUT REFERENDUM

2004-02-27 22:31:56

    Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairwoman Therse Shaheen's explanation Thursday of the neutrality of the United States regarding Taiwan's referendum was an affirmation of U.S. policy and is welcomed by Taiwan, a government spokesman said Friday.

    Lin Chia-lung, a spokesman for the Executive Yuan, said Shaheen's statement confirms Washington's stance that it neither supports nor opposes Taiwan's referendum. Lin added that it shows that the United States respects the decision of the Taiwan people.

    Shaheen made the comment at a seminar in Washington, D.C., to defend U.S. President George W. Bush's position on the issue, saying what Bush opposes is any attempt to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, rather than Taiwan's referendum.

    The AIT chief also said the Bush administration has no preference for any candidate in Taiwan's upcoming presidential election in the same way that it has taken no sides regarding the referendum.

(By Maubo Chang)

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