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2004-01-03 16:17:57

    Washington, Jan. 2 (CNA) A high-ranking official of the U.S. State Department on Friday told a Republic of China's envoy to Washington, D.C. that his government has not changed its position on Taiwan's proposed referendum, adding that he hopes that both sides of the Taiwan Strait will not make unilateral moves to change the status quo.

    Well-placed sources said that Tsai Ming-shian, ROC deputy representative to the United States, spoke to the U.S. official on the telephone Friday morning, saying that State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli's recent comments regarding Taiwan's referendum issue have caused concerns over whether Washington has changed its position on the issue.

    In his comments made at a year-end news briefing at the State Department on Dec. 31 last year, Ereli said that the United States opposes any measures that will affect the status quo, including a referendum in Taiwan to that end.

    However, the official clarified on the phone that the U.S. government has not changed its position regarding maintaining the status quo and he urged Taipei and Beijing solve their differences through dialogue.

    In response, Tsai told the U.S. official that the government of Taiwan will finalize the theme and contents of the proposed referendum in the near future and that the island will keep in touch with the United States on the matter.

    Meanwhile, Ereli also reiterated Friday at a daily briefing the U.S. government's consistent and unchanged opposition to any referendum aimed at changing the status quo and its position to see both sides of the Taiwan Strait solve their problems through dialogue.

(By Jorge Liu and P.C. Tang)


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