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2004-01-01 16:07:39

    Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) A legislator of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on Thursday that the United States will not interfere with the internal affairs of Taiwan regarding its "defensive referendum."

    Parris Chang, a convener of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan, made the remarks amid concerns by the U.S. over President Chen Shui-bian's plan to sponsor a "defensive referendum, " which the U.S. fears may lead to the island's independence.

    Chang, who will lead a delegation to Europe later this month to explain the nation's "defensive referendum, " said that Taiwan will tell the U.S. that the referendum will not change the status quo.

    He said that even if the U.S. "does not support, " or "has reservations" about the "peace" referendum to demand that mainland China withdraw its missiles targeting Taiwan and renounce the use of force against Taiwan, "it will not interfere with the internal affairs of Taiwan" and its right to have the referendum.

    If the U.S. does not favor or support the referendum, Taiwan will continue to keep the channels of communication open. The referendum is scheduled to be held concurrent with the presidential election on March 20.

    Asked if the referendum would be aborted due to the interference of the U.S., Chang said that this would be a worst-case scenario, but added, "This situation will not occur."

    He said that the stance of the U.S. is clear: that it opposes Taiwan holding a referendum that would change the status quo and does not support a so-called "peace" referendum. The U.S. does not have an opinion about a referendum on public policy, Chang said.

    He stressed that Taiwan and the U.S. have different national interests and views, and Taiwan will not let the U.S. orchestrate its national policy.

    In order to assuage any misgivings about the "defensive referendum, " the National Security Council under the Presidential Office is organizing three groups to visit the U.S., Europe and Japan to elaborate on the matter. Chang was invited to lead the group to Europe.

    Chang said that his group will explain that the referendum has nothing to do with a vote on unification or independence and will not change the status quo. They will also urge the international community to unite to boycott mainland China because of its nearly 500 missiles targeting Taiwan.

(By Lilian Wu)


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