U.N.-BID REFERENDUM TO BE HELD IN TANDEM WITH MAJOR ELECTION: CHEN
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, May 22 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian expressed his hope Tuesday that a referendum on the country's bid to join the United Nations under the name "Taiwan" can be held in tandem with the legislative elections slated for the end of this year or the presidential election to be held in early 2008.
Chen said that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has completed the first stage of a signature drive required to launch a referendum on Taiwan's bid to join the U.N. under the name "Taiwan" and that the signatures collected will be sent to the Central Election Commission (CEC) soon.
He added that the second stage of the petition will be launched in the near future to pave the way for the holding of the U.N.-bid referendum along with the legislative elections this year or with the presidential election next year.
The president made the remarks during a brief meeting at the Presidential Office with visiting Michael Warder, vice chancellor of Pepperdine University of the United States, and Bruce Herschensohn, a professor at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.
Chen said that the 23 million people of Taiwan have every right to take part in the U.N. and the World Health Organization (WHO) and that they should not be deprived of this "collective human right."
Although the efforts will be very difficult, Taiwan will not be daunted and will launch a bid for full U.N. membership using the title "Taiwan" in September following its failure in its bid to join the WHO under the name "Taiwan" earlier this month, Chen told Warder and Herschensohn.
Noting that members of the opposition parties have been reserved toward these efforts, Chen said he thinks these are the right things for the DPP administration to strive to accomplish. "We are on the right side of history, and we will go for it resolutely," he said.
Chen expressed his appreciation to Warder and Herschensohn for heading to the L.A. international airport to meet him on Jan. 11 during his U.S. stopover en route to Nicaragua, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America.
The president also lauded the book by Herschensohn titled "Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy" as an inspirational masterpiece.
In the book, according to Chen, Herschensohn seemed to be a little bit confused about why he used the term "to cease the function" of the National Unification Council and its guidelines, instead of "scrap" or "abolish."
Chen told his guests that regardless of the term used, the goal was to abrogate the council and its guidelines.
He added that the fifth "no" of his "five noes" doctrine no longer exists.
Chen pledged in his 2000 inaugural address that as long as Beijing had no intention of using military force against Taiwan, during his time in office, he would not declare independence, not change Taiwan's name, not add the state-to-state theory to the Constitution, not promote a referendum on the independence versus unification issue, and not scrap the National Unification Guidelines -- positions collectively known as the "five noes" doctrine.
(By Deborah Kuo)
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