Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: UN poll should stay

Bravo to Presidential Office Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) for rebutting former German defense minister Rainer Eppleman, the latest in a chorus of international observers who suggested that Taiwan should cancel its UN referendums.

The referendums should go forward because they are the result of popular petitions that cleared the long application process and their inherent value should be applauded, not bemoaned or condemned.

From US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Eppleman and others who represent the many nations that adhere to a "one China" policy, Beijing's disapproval of the referendum seems sufficient grounds to put democracy on hold. Small wonder so few believe US intervention in Iraq has nearly as much to do with democratization as with economic and military self-interest.

It's time for representatives of democratic nations to adhere to the democratic principles they tout consistently -- not merely when convenient. For a people to express their opinion by means of a referendum is a basic right.

UN membership can be blocked by China in the UN Security Council in the near term, but Taiwanese deserve to be heard. In the long term, steps like this help nurture democracy, something the US and Germany will need to uphold if they intend to regain moral authority in international relations.

William Cooper

Richmond, Virginia

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