Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 1 News List

DPP, KMT rally for UN referendums

EYE-CATCHER Staffers from Frank Hsieh's campaign office dressed up as characteristic Taiwanese items, with one person clad as a bowl of braised pork rice

By Flora Wangand Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN KAOHSIUNG AND TAICHUNG

"The people should stand up and fight for our economy. We want the government to take care of disadvantaged groups and develop the tourism industry," she said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) did not attend the march, but showed up at the evening party afterwards.

Former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) declined to attend the event.

Addressing the party, Ma condemned the DPP version of the referendum as an election gimmick designed to stir up emotions.

Ma said that the KMT version would not harm Taiwan's relationship with Washington.

"The KMT knows where the bottom line is and won't irritate our allies ... Our version proposes to maintain the status quo, but will help the nation gain UN membership," Ma said.

Ma further urged China not to oppress Taiwan by blocking it from participating in the international community and vowed to defend the nation's interests.

"We won't accept any actions that damage Taiwan's interests and dignity," Ma said.

"No countries can draw red lines for us. There will only be bottom lines that we set ourselves," he said.

The party later showed a video clip of the development of the country's baseball teams and its well-known baseball stars, including New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民), to represent the strength and hard work of Taiwanese.

The evening party ended with Wu and Siew lighting a model of the island, as KMT officials vowed to lead Taiwanese to a better life if the party regained power.

Liao Fung-te (廖風德), director of the KMT's organization and development committee, estimated that approximately 150,000 people had attended the demonstration.

The Taichung police department estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 people were at the rally.

Beijing has blasted the DPP's referendum, accusing Chen of separatism.

The US has also criticized the proposal, saying it could provoke conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling and AP

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