Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lien dares Chen to hold independence referendum

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH AGENCIES

Saying that many of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent actions have strained cross-strait relations, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday called on Chen to hold a referendum on Taiwanese independence if he "had the guts."

Chen and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been "consistently deceiving" the Taiwan-ese people about Taiwanese independence with talk of "one country on either side" of the Taiwan Strait and of a sovereign Taiwan nation, Lien said yesterday.

Implying that the people still believe in the concept of the "Republic of China" over a Taiwan nation, Lien said that Chen should hold a referendum on Taiwanese independence on Dec. 11, the day of the legislative elections, to see if the people believe in defending the "Republic of China" or in declaring independence.

Lien made the comments yesterday while on a break from electioneering at the KMT's Central Standing Committee meeting in Kaohsiung.

The KMT and its pan-blue allies have long claimed that the Chen administration has heightened tensions with China through pro-independence activities, such as debates on Taiwan's national title, as part of its election rhetoric in the 2004 presidential election and in the current run-up to the legislative elections next month.

While Chen said in 2002 that the relationship between Taiwan and China was of nations on either side of the Taiwan Strait, Chen and the DPP have not pushed for a sovereign Taiwanese nation since he became president in 2000. According to the DPP's current party platform, while Taiwanese sovereignty is already a reality, the establishment of a sovereign Taiwan Republic should be decided by plebiscite.

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