Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 4 News List

US congressman backs referendums

HOUSE RESOLUTION The Democratic Party's Robert Andrews argued that exclusive responsibility for the country belongs in the hands of Taiwanese people


US Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews has introduced a resolution calling for support for the people of Taiwan to hold referendums to determine their own future, the Formosan Association of Public Affairs (FAPA) said on Monday.

On Nov. 21, the last day before the US House of Representatives adjourned for the year, Andrews introduced a resolution to "express the sense of the Congress that the people of Taiwan should be able to conduct referendum votes free from intimidation or threat of force," according to FAPA president Wu Ming-chi (吳明基).

The resolution included five major points. The first said the people of Taiwan, and not the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), should have exclusive responsibility for determining the future of Taiwan.

The second said Taiwan should be able to conduct referendums on issues that will have a direct effect on its quality of life, free from intimidation or threat of force.

The third said the US should support Taiwan as a blossoming democracy, including its adoption of such democratic practices as the use of referendums.

The fourth point said the US should continue to be a strong supporter of Taiwanese membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The final point said the US should raise the issue of Taiwanese referendums, including a vote respecting membership in the WHO, at future meetings with Chinese officials.

The FAPA noted in a statement that it is a strong supporter of the notion that the future of Taiwan be solely determined by the people of Taiwan and nobody else.

The idea that the future of Taiwan must be determined "with the assent of the people of Taiwan" did not go far enough, the group's statement said. The word "assent" implies that the Taiwanese people needed to approve or endorse a decision made by the PRC, it added.

"We believe that only the people of Taiwan have the right to determine Taiwan's future -- not the people of the PRC. After all, in 1776, the people of England did not determine the future of America," the statement said.

The statement said recent Chinese rhetoric of using force against Taiwan if it declares independence meant the introduction of the resolution was very timely.

"We at the FAPA will seek to build up support for this resolution and hope we can bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote next March when the actual referendum will take place in Taiwan," it said.

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