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Rice's remarks on U.N. bid criticized

Rice's remarks on U.N. bid criticized

The United States' continuing negative comments on Taiwan's planned U.N. referendum will create crisis across the Taiwan Strait as it will pave the way for China to use military force to attack Taiwan, government officials and scholars said in a symposium held in Taipei yesterday.
They said the U.S. should not follow China in thinking that Taiwan's U.N. referendum bid is a vote on independence versus unification, but should see it as a democratic practice that demonstrates the will of Taiwan's people to be included in the international community, given that Taiwan has long been isolated on the international stage.
Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), who attended yesterday's discussion organized by Taiwan Thinktank, said the U.S.' criticism of Taiwan on the U.N. referendum bid not only ignores the will of Taiwan's people to join the world body, but also encourages China's hardliners to relentlessly threaten and oppress Taiwan through its increasing military buildup.
"The U.S.' statements on Taiwan's planned referendum hurt the feelings of Taiwan's people and deny their basic rights to democratic practices. The statements will seriously affect cross-strait peace and stability. We believe the U.S. does not intend to create tension across the Taiwan Strait," said Tung.
He said according to the latest survey conducted by the council after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's remarks on the issue last Friday, 77.8 percent of respondents said they did not oppose the planned referendum.
Some 14.2 percent of respondents changed their attitude following the report, Tung said, adding that the council would provide a more detailed report in the near future on the survey.
He said the U.S. should stick to its founding spirit and democratic values and not sacrifice Taiwan's interests and democratic beliefs when interacting with China.
Soochow University political professor Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) echoed Tung's view, stressing that the U.S. talk on Taiwan's planned referendum will hinder Taiwan-U.S. relations and justify China's relentless military threat against Taiwan.
"The U.S. gave China a very good present on the Christmas holiday, but the present is also 'Made in China' as the U.S. was responding to the calls made by China to oppose the referendum bid," Lo said.
Lo was referring to Rice's statement made last Friday in which she said, "the U.S. thinks that Taiwan's referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name 'Taiwan' is a provocative policy.
"It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage," Rice said.
Lo said the U.S. underestimated the impact the statements by high-ranking officials had had on Taiwan's people. Although anti-American sentiment has yet to take root, Lo claimed that the good feeling of Taiwan's people toward the U.S. is certainly on the decline.
He noted that the U.S. failed to take into account Taiwan's democratic practices when examining the referendum issue.
"Holding referendums for important decisions will be a common practice in Taiwan. The planned U.N. referendum bid is not an isolated event, but it will be a recurrent practice in Taiwan," Lo said.
Lai I-chung, director of the DPP's Department of International Affairs said the U.S. has not renewed its Taiwan policy since the 1990s and has failed to understand Taiwan's democratic development.


Updated : 2020-12-01 17:10 GMT+08:00