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MOFA says ties with U.S. remain same

MOFA says ties with U.S. remain same

Taiwan-United States ties remain secure despite the U.S.' recent public opposition to Taiwan's proposal to hold a referendum on its bid to enter the United Nations under the designation "Taiwan," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.
"It is public knowledge that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has been pushing the bid for quite a while, said Christine Hsueh, deputy-director of MOFA's Department of North American Affairs. "We have been negotiating with our U.S. counterpart for over a year on the issue and the negotiations will continue as long as necessary."
On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack urged Chen to drop the proposed referendum plan, saying the move would raise tensions with China and threaten the stability in the Taiwan Strait.
"The United States opposes any initiative that appears designed to change Taiwan's status unilaterally," said McCormack. "This would include a referendum on whether to apply to the United Nations under the name Taiwan ... While such a referendum would have no practical impact on Taiwan's U.N. status, it would increase tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is of vital interest to the people of Taiwan and serves U.S. security interests as well," he said.
McCormack added that such a move also "appears to run counter to President Chen's repeated commitments" to U.S. President George W. Bush and the international community, a reference to Chen's pledges not to change the island's status quo.
Speaking to reporters, Hsueh said the use of the word "oppose" versus the usual "does not support" did not denote a change in the U.S. stance on the issue. The word change only emphasizes U.S. policy and should not be interpreted otherwise, she said.
"Any over-analyzing of certain words will only blur the focus of the real issue," she noted.
It has been the U.S. long standing policy that it will not support Taiwan's participation in any international organizations that requires statehood. The stance was reiterated again by American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt during a visit to Taiwan last week.
Despite the displeasure of Washington and Beijing, Taiwan plans to go ahead with the referendum.
A Central News Agency report quoted an unnamed scholar close to the Bush administration as saying Washington is very concerned about changing the status quo and will not rule out repeating the 2003 episode where Bush publicly chastised the Taiwanese leader in a meeting with China's prime minister Wen Jiao-bao.
The Bush administration is also keep a close watch on the two presidential candidates, namely Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Democratic Progressive Party's Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).
The source also said Washington has a clear understanding of Ma's stance on the issue but is still grappling with Hsieh's view. It is the hope the administration, said the scholar, that Hsieh will take a different stand from Chen.
What Chen is doing now is a repeat of what he did in between 2003 and 2004 while seeking for reelection.
"He is creating a chaos now for the sake of the campaign and then will wait to clean the mess later after the election."
MOFA affirmed that the U.S. opposition to Taiwan's UN bid will not interfere with Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) upcoming transit stop at the U.S. en route to her trip to Paraguay in early next month. All details regarding Lu's plans are still being finalized.


Updated : 2021-05-14 10:33 GMT+08:00