The United States and Britain voiced their opposition to Taiwan's plans to hold referendums on U.N. membership yesterday during visits to China which considers the island its own.
Taiwan plans to hold a vote on March 22 on whether to seek U.N. membership under the name "Taiwan," over opposition from Beijing.
"Taiwan is a democratic entity that will have to make its own decisions, but I think we have been very clear that we think that this referendum is not going to help anyone and in fact it shouldn't be held," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Beijing, where she is on a one-day visit.
Rice underlined the U.S.' "strong belief that no one should try to change the status quo unilaterally."
In Shanghai, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband chimed in, saying: "We don't support the use of the referendum as a way for Taiwan to join the U.N. in the name of Taiwan."
Miliband called on China and Taiwan to use the election as a chance to mend ties. "We think that actually after the March election in Taiwan, there needs to be an attempt from both sides to try to boost dialogue, to try to reduce the amount of tension in the Taiwan Strait," said Miliband, who is due in Beijing today.