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2004-01-28 14:01:25

    Taoyuan, Taiwan, Jan. 28 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu said Wednesday that French President Jacques Chirac's disapproving remarks on Taiwan's planned referendum have brought shame to France.

    Lu made the statement a day after Chirac warned Taiwan at a state dinner in honor of visiting mainland Chinese President Hu Jintao that the island will be committing a "grave error" that could destabilize the region by holding a referendum in March.

    Addressing a campaign rally in Taoyuan County in northern Taiwan for her re-election bid, Lu said it's shameful and regrettable that Chirac expressed opposition to Taiwan's referendum agenda in favor of Beijing simply out of monetary considerations.

    Lu claimed that Beijing has enticed Chirac to issue unfavorable remarks on Taiwan's referendum plan by offering lucrative business opportunities that may arise from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and by promising to purchase French weapons.

    Noting that Chirac's opposition to Taiwan's referendum initiative goes against France's founding spirit of upholding freedom and democracy, Lu said all the people of Taiwan should stand up and condemn Chirac's move.

    Lu also urged the international community to respect and support Taiwan's democratic development.

    The vice president further said Taiwan will not flinch under mainland China's pressure nor change its determination to hold its first-ever referendum against Beijing's missile threat to coincide with the nation's March 20 presidential election.

    President Chen Shui-bian announced earlier this month that a "peace referendum" will be held on the day of the upcoming presidential election to ask voters whether Taiwan should beef up its anti-missile defenses if Beijing refuses to withdraw the hundreds of ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan.

(By Sofia Wu)


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