TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Wednesday the United States does not support a referendum on Taiwan independence, which is considered to be in conflict with the U.S. policy of upholding a cross-strait status quo.
“It has been our longstanding policy that we do not support a referendum on Taiwan independence,” said AIT Spokesperson Amanda Mansour. She was asked to comment on a motion proposed by the pro-independence political campaign, known as Formosa Alliance, to push forward a referendum on Taiwan’s de-jure independence.
Mansour said the U.S. government opposes any efforts to unilaterally change the cross-strait status quo and reiterated that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are of great interest to the United States, reports Liberty Times.
The Formosa Alliance released an open letter addressing Taiwanese legislators at the end of January, urging them to commence procedures to revise the Referendum Act, which currently excludes referendums dealing with constitutional questions.
In an open letter published by the Washington-based Brookings Institution on Feb. 11, Richard Bush, former AIT chairman and currently a senior researcher at the institute, reminded the alliance leaders of former President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) initiatives, which promoted Taiwan independence, during his terms. Bush said similar initiatives could damage the relationship between Taiwan and the United States.
Bush warned that any efforts to hold an independence referendum on the Taiwan side may trigger a military response from Beijing, and that Washington will only come to Taiwan’s defense unless it is certain that such risks are taken in line with protecting key U.S. interests.