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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

CHINA MAKES "STRATEGIC ERROR" IN TAIWAN'S REFERENDUM ISSUE

2004-01-11 17:35:07

    Washington, Jan. 11 (CNA) A co-chairman of the U.S. Representatives Taiwan Caucus has said that mainland China's strong opposition to Taiwan's proposed referendum is a "strategic error" that has highlighted the significance of the issue.

    Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) made the remarks while fielding questions raised by CNA prior to his departure for Taiwan to attend a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Security Forum.

    Saying that Beijing's strategy toward Taiwan's proposed referendum has backfired, Wexler said that it has also highlighted the difference between Taiwan and the mainland. "It has highlighted the fact that Taiwan is in fact a practicing democracy and that China is still an authoritarian country, " he added. "While we have had positive relations with China in the context of the war on terror and dealing with North Korea, and while we hope to maintain those positive relationships, China still has yet to adopt political reform and Taiwan, of course, is a full-fledged democracy," the congressman continued.

    Asked whether he considers that Taiwan is right to hold a referendum to highlight the mainland's missile threat, Wexler said that Taiwan is a democracy and it is up to the people of Taiwan and their elected leaders to decide those kinds of questions.

    Beijing could alleviate the situation greatly by simply saying it will not use force to resolving its issues with Taiwan, he noted, adding that the mainland would be able to pursue its goals better if it minimized the tension, as that would bring forth a very different reaction in Taiwan.

(By Jay Chen and P.C. Tang)

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