Sat, Dec 06, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chen to detail plans for `preventive' referendum

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Presidential Office sources told the Taipei Times yesterday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will reveal details -- including the question -- tomorrow of the referendum he plans to hold along with the presidential election on March 20 next year.

The president told aides at a closed-door meeting on Thursday that it would be a "preventive," rather than "defensive" or "protective," referendum to avoid confusion in Taiwan or overseas, sources said.

The sources added that Chen had already informed the US of his plans.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said at the legislature yesterday that Taiwan needs a "preventive" referendum to assure the status quo of the nation and safeguard peace in the Taiwan Strait.

"The result of the `preventive' referendum is a message from all Taiwanese to international society," Yu said.

"The proposal was presented because the president is empowered to initiate a `preventive' referendum by the Referendum Law (公民投票法)," he said.

"After all, Taiwan is facing a continuous threat and diplomatic suppression" from China, he said.

The DPP legislative caucus expressed its support for the premier's comment by presenting a legislative motion yesterday, saying: "The Legislative Yuan should pass a resolution to demand Beijing dismantle its missiles targeting Taiwan."

China should respect the sovereignty of the Republic of China and the hopes of the Taiwanese people in pursuing peace and democracy, the DPP said.

"The Republic of China is an independent sovereignty and does not belong to the People's Republic of China. Any proposed change in the sovereignty should be confirmed through a referendum by the 23 million people," the motion read.

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