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Taiwan government minister rejects US criticism of island's UN referendum

Taiwan government minister rejects US criticism of island's UN referendum

Taiwan's foreign minister on Saturday urged the United States to not "overreact" to the island's planned referendum on U.N. membership after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice objected to the move.
"For all these years, Taiwanese have proved they have the wisdom and capability to handle issues regarding deepening democracy and cross-Strait relations," Foreign Minister James Huang said.
"I hope the U.S. can try better to understand the situation and not overreact ... That could make matters more complicated," he said.
Huang made the comments after Rice repeated Washington's objections to Taiwan's referendum at a news conference Friday.
"As we have stated in recent months, we think that Taiwan's referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name Taiwan is a provocative policy," Rice said. "It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage."
The planned referendum will ask Taiwanese voters whether they support applying to join the United Nations under its own name "Taiwan," rather than its official title of the Republic of China. It will be held in tandem with Taiwan's presidential poll in March.
Beijing has condemned Taiwan's U.N. bid as a precursor to formal independence.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and China continues to see the self-ruled island as part of its territory. It has threatened to attack if Taipei rejects eventual unification and seeks a permanent break.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday Washington is not concerned that the referendum would lead to military action by communist China.
He added the United States has also made clear to China that any differences should be handled through diplomatic means.


Updated : 2021-05-19 07:53 GMT+08:00