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Ma considers official's words strong message from the U.S.

The United States sent a strong message to Taiwan when its deputy secretary of state spelled out that Washington opposes Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on the island's bid to enter the United Nations under the name Taiwan, the opposition Kuomintang presidential candidate said yesterday.
Ma Ying-jeou was referring to remarks made by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in an exclusive interview that was aired Monday on Hong Kong-based Phoenix Star TV.
In the interview, Negroponte said that "we oppose the notion of that kind of a referendum because we see it as a step towards a declaration of independence of Taiwan, towards an alteration of the status quo."
Commenting on Negroponte's remarks, Ma said that no ranking U.S. official has publicly criticized Taiwan's policy in such strong terms before, adding that his words represent a strong message to Taiwan.
Ma said he did not think the Democratic Progressive Party administration's rash and abrupt moves regarding Taiwan's U.N. bid will work. "It is wishful thinking that the United States will take whatever it is given and that it will come to Taiwan's rescue anytime," he said.
Ma said that the KMT would continue to push for a referendum on the issue of the Republic of China on Taiwan bidding to "return" to the U.N., but with a more pragmatic approach that does not include the issue of what name the country should use in applying for membership in the world body.
In the interview with Phoenix Star TV, Negroponte was also asked whether the U.S. will downgrade its economic or military cooperation with Taiwan if the island's government continues to push for the referendum.
Negroponte replied: "I wouldn't want to get into that kind of a hypothetical discussion at this particular time. But what I would like to emphasize is that we believe it's important to avoid any kind of provocative steps on the part of Taiwan."
China welcomed U.S. pressure on Taiwan to drop its plan for a U.N. referendum, saying the island's attempts to assert nationhood were doomed to failure. "We have taken note of the relevant report, and appreciate the U.S. government's recent reiteration of its opposition to Taiwan's referendum on entry into the United Nations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement on the ministry's Web site.
"Opposing and restraining Taiwan independence is key to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region."

Updated : 2021-04-22 02:32 GMT+08:00