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Fukuda voices opposition to Taiwan referendum

Fukuda voices opposition to Taiwan referendum

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday joined a growing chorus of opposition to Taiwan's contentious plan to hold a referendum on U.N. membership, a comment intended to placate China.
Fukuda joined U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in openly criticizing the planned referendum on whether the diplomatically isolated island should seek to rejoin the world body.
"If it leads to a unilateral change of the (political) status quo (between China and Taiwan), we cannot support it," Fukuda told a joint Beijing news conference after talks with Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).
Beijing insists that the rest of the world treat self-ruled Taiwan as a province of China, and has long threatened to attack the democratic island if it formally declares statehood. It would see passage of the referendum as tantamount to a declaration of independence.
"We do not desire tensions stemming from Taiwan's referendum," Fukuda said.
"Our position regarding Taiwan ... has not changed at all," he said, adding that Tokyo did not support Taiwan independence.
Taipei, still formally styled the Republic of China, held China's U.N. seat until 1971 when the world body admitted Beijing. Taiwan has failed in successive re-entry bids over the past 15 years.
Whatever the outcome of the March referendum, Taiwan's bid is doomed because China wields a veto as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
In Taipei, the Foreign Ministry defended the referendum, saying it was a legitimate democratic process to express the island's common view.
"We urge Japan and the international community to have faith in the wisdom of the Taiwan people and respect their ability to exercise the rights offered in a democratic country," the ministry said in a statement on its Web site (www.mofa.gov.tw).
"It does not involve the question of independence or alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait," the ministry said.


Updated : 2021-05-11 06:11 GMT+08:00