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Opposition candidate warns Taiwan president against pushing for UN referendum

Opposition candidate warns Taiwan president against pushing for UN referendum

Taiwan's opposition presidential candidate warned President Chen Shui-bian on Tuesday that pushing for a referendum on United Nations membership could bring the island disaster.
The referendum, to take place in tandem with a presidential election in March, will ask Taiwanese voters whether they would support an application to join the U.N. as Taiwan rather than under its official title, the Republic of China.
"If we want to join the international community we need to do it the proper way, so we could remove or reduce the obstacles," said Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalist Party.
"You don't hold a gas tank and dash ahead blindly," Ma told a rally in Taichung in central Taiwan.
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the referendum a "provocative policy" that could unnecessarily raise tensions with China. Beijing has condemned Taiwan's U.N. bid as a precursor to formal independence.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing 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.
Chen mocked the China-friendly opposition Tuesday for not safeguarding the island's sovereignty.
"They are ready to lay down arms and surrender," the president said.
Washington, a strong ally of Taiwan, fears it could be drawn into a conflict in the Taiwan Strait if China attacks the island. It has repeatedly warned Chen not to do anything that could upset the delicate status quo.


Updated : 2021-04-17 16:50 GMT+08:00