President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday announced the content of his referendum plan, which is to ask the people of Taiwan whether they would support enhancing the nation's defensive capabilities as well as negotiations with China about establishing peace and stability. \n"I would hereby like to announce the questions that will be put to the people of Taiwan for the peace referendum on March 20," Chen said during a pre-recorded TV speech last night. \n"The People of Taiwan demand that the Taiwan Strait issue be resolved through peaceful means. The first question is: `If China refuses to withdraw the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan and to openly renounce the use of force against us, would you agree that the government should acquire more advanced anti-missile weapons to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense capabilities?'" Chen said. \n"And the second question is: `Would you agree that our government should engage in negotiations with China about the establishment of a "peace and stability" framework for cross-strait interactions in order to build consensus and for the welfare of the peoples on both sides?'" the president continued. \nAccording to a government official the wording of the president's referendum question was finalized over the past few days, and the official English translation has been sent to members of the US government. \nThe government official, who declined to be identified, said yesterday that it was not necessary to get approval from or to discuss the wording of the president's referendum question with the US. \n"Since both countries have long-term friendships, we informed the US government, and we are waiting for our friend's reaction," the source said. \nDuring yesterday's TV speech, Chen said that while he has fully abided by the "five noes" promise of his inauguration speech, China has been increasing the number of missiles targeted at Taiwan and has been intensifying its military preparations for a possible attack. \n"China's purpose is unquestionably obvious -- they aim to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait through undemocratic and non-peaceful means, rather than through working with us to maintain stability in the region," Chen said. \nHe said this was why a "peace referendum" would be an effective preventive measure, as it would help to increase people's awareness of and readiness for such a threat, while actively seeking to maintain the status quo. \nChen said he was still committed to reopening dialogue with China, saying that he would invite Beijing's representative to visit Taiwan to resume cross-strait negotiations. \n"If I assume this office as the 11th president of the Republic of China, I will continue to strive to the fullest of my abilities to maintain the status quo and ensure the sovereignty, dignity and security of our country," Chen said. \n"Furthermore, on the basis of maintaining the status quo, I will continue the proposed reengineering of our Constitution. Within the shortest possible time frame, we aim to invite China to appoint a representative to meet with our appointed envoy -- mindful of the democratic choice that has been made by the people of Taiwan -- to commence negotiations on the establishment of a `peace and stability' framework for cross-strait interactions," the president said. \nA top-ranking government official said yesterday that the major significance of Chen's two referendum questions is that the government will have a mandate from the people to draw up its budget, which has been a continued obstacle to the Democratic Progressive Party government in the Legislative Yuan for the past three years. \n"Moreover, the government will also have the mandate to shake hands with Beijing's leaders. Once we get the authority from a majority of the people in Taiwan, the international community will have to ask whether China has the guts to sit down with to talk with Taiwan," the official said.
PROTECTION: The New Taipei City mayor said a pass could cover stores, but not eateries, while Ko Wen-je said vaccinated people could be exempted from some rules Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) on Saturday proposed implementing a “COVID-19 pass” regulation that would allow only vaccinated people into certain areas. New Taipei City is planning to require a “COVID-19 pass” for entry to “vulnerable spaces” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hou said. Non-students entering elementary schools in New Taipei City are required to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is for the protection of students under the age of 12, who are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, city officials have said. The
PAPERS, PLEASE: A digital certificate or a printout would return one of three results: green for ‘pass,’ red for ‘not passed’ or yellow for ‘to be determined,’ the CECC said Starting today, people can download a Digital COVID-19 Certificate, with the government now requiring people at night clubs, karaoke bars and other businesses in “eight major special establishment categories” to be fully vaccinated and present a vaccination certificate. The eight categories include dance venues, massage parlors, hostess bars and saunas. Customers and service personnel at the venues have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, as they can neither avoid contact with people nor strictly observe distancing guidelines, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. As such, both groups are required to be fully vaccinated, meaning that they must have had at least a
LAWMAKERS RALLY: Beijing’s unlegislated actions breach international and WTO trade rules, and affect the basic principles of the EU single market, the letter said A group of 41 EU lawmakers on Tuesday condemned China for its political and economic coercion of Lithuania, and called on leaders of the bloc to demonstrate solidarity with Vilnius. The letter was initiated by Slovakian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Miriam Lexmann, who is cochair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. “We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, resolutely condemn political and economic coercion of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) against Lithuania,” the letter said. The letter addressed European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and
‘GOOD FRIEND’: The Slovenian prime minister said he had visited Taiwan four or five times, and that Taiwanese should have the right to determine their future The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed Slovenia’s plan to establish a representative office in Taiwan, after Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa revealed the plan in an interview with Indian TV station Doordarshan on Monday. Taiwan is a democratic country that respects international democratic standards and international laws, the Slovenian prime minister said in the interview. Slovenia and Taiwan are working on “exchanging representatives,” he said. “Of course, this will not be on the level of embassies. It will be on the same level as many of the EU member countries.” “When I spoke with our businessmen who are trading with Taiwan, they