Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan pans Hu over `status quo'

AND THOSE MISSILES? Following Chinese President Hu Jintao's statement that a UN referendum would be an act of 'secession,' Taiwan's government quickly hit back

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Protesters opposed to the Chinese authorities act out alleged atrocities against Falun Gong members in Hyde Park, Sydney, yesterday. The protests are taking place as Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Sydney to attend the APEC summit.

PHOTO: EPA

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday that Taiwan shares the same stance as the US in opposing changes to the "status quo" in the Taiwan Strait.

Huang was responding to Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) statement after his meeting with US President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Sydney that Taiwan's plan for a referendum on UN membership was an act of "secession," saying Beijing would never tolerate any attempt to separate Taiwan from China.

Bush was quoted by Hu as having clearly said that the US was firmly opposed to any changes in the "status quo."

Huang said Taiwan agrees with the US' stance and it was China that was making every effort to change the "status quo."

He said China has applied pressure on the UN Secretariat that led to it misinterpreting UN Resolution 2758 to mean "Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China [PRC]." The resolution in 1971 gave the PRC the Chinese seat in the world body at the expense of the Republic of China -- Taiwan's official title.

Huang also said China has deployed more than 1,000 missiles along its coast opposite Taiwan.

Meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last night that the Taiwanese would never accept Hu's assertion that Taiwan is part of China and that the nation's UN bid is therefore the act of a "secessionist."

Chen made the remarks during a teleconference with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Chen said the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is that Taiwan and the PRC are two separate, sovereign countries. He said Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the 23 million people of Taiwan.

While the US government is preoccupied with the Middle East, Chen urged Washington to pay more attention to Asia, and in particular to the Taiwan Strait. He encouraged the US Congress to play a more proactive role when its country's executive branch tilts in favor of Beijing.

Chen said Taiwan may have played the role of a "good boy" for too long so that the US government took Taipei for granted and ignored its interests.

Chen said he hoped Taiwan and the US would have high-level, substantive dialogue to prevent misunderstandings.

Chen said that both sides would have to sit down and talk about issues such as the UN bid. He said it was wrong that the US had publicly denounced Taiwan and hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese. The US government had also used the issue as an excuse to postpone the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan, he said.

Chen said that the US government treated Beijing very differently, opting to communicate with the authoritarian regime behind closed doors.

Chen dismissed criticism that the proposed referendum was of symbolic value only. He said the poll would be a peaceful and democratic means for Taiwan to say "no" to China.

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