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2004-01-17 20:47:41

    Washington, Jan. 16 (CNA) Taiwan is not being provocative by holding a referendum, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) , minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Friday.

    Replying to questions on Taiwan's planned referendum at a press conference held at the National Press Club, Pelosi said that Taiwan cannot be labeled as being provocative in simply reacting to the mainland Chinese military build-up threatening the island through the holding of a referendum.

    Pelosi criticized the U.S. government for not speaking out more against Beijing's provocative military build-up and then voicing its concerns about Taiwan when it responds to that threat.

    She said that the United States must be consistent in its promotion of democratic freedom, and not be selective in this regard based on its commercial interests.

    Meanwhile, Tom Daschle, U.S. Senate minority leader, said that it is important to create a framework for cross-Taiwan Strait dialogue. He added that the United States will continue to work to ensure that a framework for diplomatic efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question can be achieved.

    Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian announced Friday the two questions he will put to a referendum on the day of the next presidential election set for March 20.

    The two questions are whether Taiwan should further strengthen its defense capabilities if mainland China refuses to remove its deployed missiles aimed at the island, and whether the government should engage in negotiations with Beijing to set up a "peace and stability" framework for cross-strait interactions.

(By Oliver Lin and Huang Kwang-chun)


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