Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Taiwanese urged the US to back Taiwan's U.N. bid

“The US is a democratic country where referendums are held when elections are around the corner. Even if Taiwan is not a country, Taiwan still has the right to hold a referendum without consent from other countries. Unless the US sees Taiwan as its colony, how can the US say no to Taiwan’s UN referendum bid?”

Members of a civic group promoting Taiwan’s UN bid joined some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators in front of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday to protest against the US opposition to Taiwan’s plan to hold a referendum on the issue regarding applying for the UN membership under the name “Taiwan.”

Representatives of the UN for Taiwan Alliance also submitted a protest letter to Thomas Hodges, the AIT’s spokesman. The representatives told Hodges that they deeply regretted the US government’s objections, particularly considering the long friendship between the two countries.

The representatives stressed that the Taiwanese people’s resolve to push for the referendum will not be thwarted, and in the meantime, they urged the US government to understand and support Taiwan’s effort to become a full and equal member of the world body.

Twu Shiing-jer, secretary-general of the alliance, said that US officials’ remarks concerning Taiwan’s referendum plan have denied the rights of Taiwan’s people and overlooked Taiwan’s status as an independent sovereign state. Twu also addressed that applying for UN membership is a major step to furthering Taiwan’s democracy, and the US should not yield to China’s unreasonable requests.

However, Hodges repeated a statement made last week by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte that Washington is opposed to the referendum because the US sees it as a step “towards a declaration of independence of Taiwan and an alteration of the status quo.”
DPP legislator Kao Chieh-chih said, “The US is of course entitled to safeguard its own interests, but it cannot do so at the cost of Taiwan’s rights.”

Several pro-independence civil groups have planned to launch a mass march in Taipei this Saturday; they will protest in front of the AIT to demand that the US respect the Taiwanese’ choice of freedom and autonomy.

(Excerpts from Taiwan News)

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