The Peace and Neutrality for Taiwan Alliance, led by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), yesterday stated its intention to hold a referendum for a neutral Taiwan in tandem with local elections next year, urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to sign and promulgate the amended Referendum Act (公民投票法) as soon as possible.
Lu told a news conference in Taipei that she believes that Taiwan must pursue neutrality and should not “sit idly by and wait for the end to come,” while sandwiched between China and the US.
We must make our own path and with the amendment of the Referendum Act, it is possible for the 23 million people of Taiwan to, with collective public wisdom, formulate the correct sort of public consciousness, Lu said.
Photo: George Tseng, Taipei Times
Our path would be one of peaceful neutrality, to focus on humanitarian efforts, to befriend the US and the Japanese while making peace with the Chinese, Lu said, adding that the ultimate goal is to establish friendly and egalitarian relations with other nations around the globe.
The proposal has more than 20,000 supporting signatures and was drafted in accordance with the original Referendum Act, the alliance said.
With the amendments passed on Tuesday, the proposal has reached the revised threshold.
Under the amended act, the threshold for initiation of a referendum was lowered from 0.005 percent of the electorate in the most recent presidential election — or about 90,000 people — to 0.0001 percent — or about 1,800 — while the second-stage signature threshold was dropped from 5 percent — or 900,000 voters — to 1.5 percent — or about 280,000.
The passing requirement has been amended to a simple majority vote that would see any referendum act passed if supporting votes exceed nay-saying votes and comprise one-quarter — instead of half — of the eligible voting population.
Once Tsai signs the bill, the alliance plans to submit its proposal to the Central Election Commission, Lu said, adding that the plan is to gather 280,000 signatures within six months and hold the referendum alongside next year’s nine-in-one local elections.
Former deputy minister of foreign affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) said that the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” policy and the US “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” policy is a new balance of terror.
The neutrality of Taiwan would not only maintain its safety, but also diffuse tension between the two world powers, a contribution to both Taiwan and the world alike, Kao said.
Former Nantou County commissioner Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯) said he supports the “neutral Taiwan” concept out of concern that Taiwan’s national identity has been divided by potential resumption of hostilities with China.
In addition, Lu said that she is planning a forum to be held in March on the possibility and effects of Taiwan becoming neutral.
More than 30 experts and academics are to be invited from more than 10 countries, including the US and Japan, Lu said, adding that she is also trying to invite Chinese experts to the forum.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted