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2004-01-18 16:42:28

    London, Jan. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's proposed March 20 referendum is not for the purpose of changing the cross-Taiwan Strait status quo nor for seeking independence, a Republic of China legislator said in London Saturday.

    Parris Chang, a senior legislator of the ruling Democratic Progress Party (DPP) made the remarks while explaining the Taiwan government's referendum plan to more than 130 members of local Taiwanese communities at a dinner hosted by the Great Britain branch of the Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace.

    Chang, traveling at the head of a five-member delegation aimed at explaining President Chen Shui-bian's referendum plan, which has aroused concern from various powers around the world, arrived in London Saturday after visiting Paris, Berlin and Brussels.

    Describing the purpose of holding a referendum as to ask the people of Taiwan for a resolution on issues that the Legislative Yuan are unable to solve, Chang said that with the high voter turnout in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections, as well as fewer expenses involved in holding the referendum on the day of the presidential election, it is expected that holding the referendum on the March 20 election day will achieve better results.

    The delegation's mission is to explain the referendum plan to the parliamentarians and officials of various European countries, members of the European Parliament, European think tank groups and the media, Chang said, adding that prior to the departure of the delegation to Europe, Beijing had told the international community that the purpose of the referendum is to seek independence that will increase cross-strait tension.

    Pointing out that Taiwan's referendum plan will not change the the cross-strait status quo, Chang said that with 500 mainland Chinese missiles targetING Taiwan, no country in the world can tolerate such a threat.

    Besides, the mainland will deploy more sophisticated cruise missiles this year on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, posing and even greater threat to the island, he added.

    Meanwhile, Chang said that Chen has already announced the content of the proposed referendum--enhancing Taiwan's defensive capabilities and demonstrating the island's goodwill of establishing a peaceful and stability framework for cross-strait interactions.

    Since the world is now realizing that Taiwan's referendum plans are not for the purpose of changing the status quo, the United States, Japan and the European Union, who have been uncomfortable about the island's referendum, should no longer worry about the issue, Chang said, adding that although they are not expected to voice their support for the referendum, they are not expected to oppose to the issue neither.

    During their stay in London, Chang and other members of the delegation will also meet with British officials and parliamentarians, think tank groups, as well as members of important local media, including British Broadcasting Company and Economists.

(By N.K.Han and P.C.Tang)


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