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Ma says Taiwan unlikely to hold U.N. referendum for at least 3 years

Ma says Taiwan unlikely to hold U.N. referendum for at least 3 years

President-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) indicated yesterday that Taiwan would not hold another referendum on U.N. membership for at least three years, after two proposals failed to muster enough voters.
Ma said it was clear the Taiwanese people wanted to join the world body, but that it had to be done under the right conditions.
"We should return to the U.N.," Ma told reporters a day after his landslide presidential election victory.
"It is quite clear that the people of Taiwan have a strong intention to be part of the U.N."
However "if you are not doing it right, you not only fail to send a message (to the international community) but will certainly cause a lot of problems," Ma added.
Legislation
He said current legislation meant there could be no other such referendum for three years.
Its past 15 attempts to get back into the United Nations have been blocked by Beijing, which claims the island as part of its territory and sees any move toward membership as tantamount to independence.
Only a little under 36 percent of voters bothered to cast their ballot, far below the 50 percent turnout threshold needed to validate any result.
Along with the United States, the European Union had also expressed concern at the referendum, fearing it would spike tensions in the region.
A differently-worded version proposed by Ma's Kuomintang party also failed to get beyond 36 percent.
The Democratic Progressive Party called for the island to seek membership under the name Taiwan while the KMT version, seen as less sensitive, would have sought entry under any mutually acceptable name.
Ma said that doing it Chen's way meant moving toward formal independence, which was unacceptable both to China and most of the rest of the international community.
China's reaction
Also yesterday, China has welcomed the rejection of a referendum in Taiwan.
"Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration has put forth a referendum to join the United Nations under the name 'Taiwan,' but that referendum has failed, which goes to show that the people are not in favor of those who advocate Taiwan independence," Li Weiyi, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office told Taiwanese reporters in Beijing.
"It's the hope of the people across the straits to develop peaceful cross-strait relations and therefore, all of us should work hard on it," Li said, in remarks carried on Taiwanese television.


Updated : 2021-10-17 02:06 GMT+08:00