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VICE PRESIDENT: CHINA HAS NO HOLD OVER TAIWAN

2004-03-18 22:33:37

    Taipei, march 18 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu said Thursday she is not surprised that Beijing has refrained from trying to influence Taiwan's presidential election this time because "whatever it does, it can't stop Taiwan from pursuing democracy."

    In an interview with a group of foreign journalists here to cover the March 20 presidential election, Lu said she regrets that France conducted a joint naval drill with mainland China in the run-up to the election.

    Lu claimed that Beijing is afraid of Taiwan's democratization and noted that it tried to disrupt Taiwan's presidential election by lobbing missiles into the sea near the island in 1996, and trying to intimidate the country again prior to the 2000 election. But, she said, the mainland has no hold over Taiwan.

    Although Beijing has not repeated its fruitless efforts this year, it has asked Tokyo and Washington to stop Taiwan from conducting its first national referendum, also unsuccessfully, Lu noted.

(By Maubo Chang)

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