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Taiwan to Enforce Referendum

Posted January. 18, 2004 23:19,   


As Taiwan has reconfirmed its intention of holding a referendum, together with the upcoming presidential election on March20 regarding the missiles dispatched in China, an outrageous repulsion has been stirred from the Chinese side, increasing tensions on Taiwanese strait.

Enforced referendum process – The Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-bian announced his intention in a television address on January 16 that the referendum, which would decide whether or not to supplement the missile defense system of Taiwan against the menacing Chinese missile networks, would be implemented together with the presidential election in upcoming March.

The topic for referendum which President Chen disclosed was a weaker version, comparing to his usual assertion, “I will carry out the referendum to urge China to immediately remove the 480 missiles which are aimed at Taiwan.” It can be assumed that he considers the movement of the moderate electorate layers that are concerned about the strong repulsion from China, pressure from the international societies, and the aggravation in the economy tie-up between the two countries, China and Taiwan.

President Chen has also disclosed that he would ask the public if they would like to set up a way to cooperate with China in the referendum, in order to secure peace and stabilize the relationship between the two countries, revealing his attitude in appeasement policy such as urging China to exchange the delegation.

However, it has been pointed out that these sorts of topic still emphasizes the significance of the military threats of China to stir up a mood of emergency, in order to grasp a favorable spot in upcoming presidential election.

Repulsions from China – The interior ministry of China, on January 16, held an emergency conference, and readjusted their standpoint of objection against the referendum, declaring on January 17, “The referendum of Taiwan is a unilateral instigation against peace and stabilization, and their main focus is on its independency.”

Kung Chuian, the spokesperson for Chinese foreign ministry, has clarified their standpoint of objection against the Taiwanese referendum, and urged the United States to come through with the existing promise that it would be opposed to any movement which can alter the current situation of Taiwan and China.

On the other hand, “The central military council of China has discussed the countermeasures of Taiwanese referendum recently at their enlarged conference. The top-level executives such as Jiang Zemin, the head of council, and Hu Jintao, the president of China, has participated on a large scale,” reported the United News of Taiwan.

It is passed on that the central military council has discussed about the measures to rearrange the troops of the each provinces after the presidential election of Taiwan, and strengthen its “war preparation” at around the time when Taiwanese referendum is held.

U.S. reaction – On January 17, the spokesperson for State Department welcomed Chen’s statement, saying, “Chen’s statement, which changed the topics of referendum to ‘Whether to increase the defensive strength against the missiles of China’, showed Chen’s flexible attitude, compared to his previous statement.” However, he has not mentioned whether or not they approved of the implementation of the referendum.

Jae-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com