President urges U.S. not to adopt `double standard' toward Taiwan
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 20 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian expressed hope Thursday that the United States "will not adopt a double standard toward Taiwan" over its promotion of a referendum on a U.N. bid to be held alongside Saturday's presidential election.
He noted that the United States has praised Taiwan's democracy success story, but at the same time has continued to oppose to Taiwan's holding of a referendum on its U.N. bid.
Chen made the remarks when he received a delegation from the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), that had arrived earlier this week to observe Saturday's election.
Chen noted that the strained relations between Taiwan and the United States have revolved around one issue -- Taiwan's promotion of referendum.
He noted that when he initiated a defensive referendum at the end of 2003, there were major differences between Taiwan and the United States and that this time, the U.S. has reacted even more strongly, calling the Democratic Progressive Party-proposed referendum "needlessly provocative."
The president strongly defended the referendum on whether Taiwan should seek U.N. membership under the name Taiwan, describing it as Taiwan's "theater missile defense" (TMD) system. "As a national leader, I cannot forfeit or cede national sovereignty," Chen went on, adding that "China has continued to claim in the international community that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, a concept that will never be accepted by the Taiwan people, regardless of their party affiliations."
He said that some might criticize his promotion of a referendum, but added that "history will do me justice after I step down May 20, and the Taiwanese people will also learn that my conviction is correct."
He expressed belief that if the referendum fails to pass, China will interpret this as meaning that the Taiwanese people will condone or accept that Taiwan is a part of China, or will not oppose communist rule, which he said would be of "grave consequence."
He also said that the high threshold set up for the passage of a referendum under the Referendum Act needs to be changed by a revision of the law.
The two previous referendums -- held alongside the 2004 presidential election and the legislative elections of Jan. 12 -- failed because fewer than 50 percent of the electorate took part, even though many of those who did participate cast "yes" votes.
(By Lilian Wu)
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