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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Chinese mainland condemns Taiwan's "referendum" as provocative

PLA Daily 2004-01-18

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese mainland said Saturday that it strongly opposes the attempt by Taiwan to hold a referendum on March 20, describing it as a unilateral provocation and a bid to prepare for "Taiwan independence".

A spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, the Chinese cabinet, said the mainland strongly opposes the attempt to split China.

The spokesman, who declined to be identified, said Chen Shui-bian, leader of Taiwan authorities, made public the topics of the referendum on Friday despite the interests of the people in Taiwan and universal opposition by the international community.

Using peace and democracy as camouflage, Chen stubbornly pushes for the referendum to heighten tension between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and sabotage cross-strait relations, said the spokesman.

Chen plans to ask voters in Taiwan two questions in the March 20 "general election" -- whether Taiwan should acquire more advanced anti-missile weapons if the mainland refuses to withdraw missiles targeting the island, and whether Taiwan should negotiate with the mainland to establish a peaceful and stable framework for interaction.

Chen's referendum plan has been criticized by the main opposition parties in the island as going too far, and some voters told local television the referendum would be a waste of taxpayers' money as the answers are self-evident.

Chen outlined his plans for the referendum after he drew a blunt warning from the United States that Washington was against any move to change the political status quo with the Chinese mainland, referring to Taiwan's efforts to seek independence.

Critics said Chen has been trying to provoke the mainland to gain the support of pro-independence voters in Taiwan who have been disappointed with his leadership.

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