Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

`Defensive referendum' urged

LEGISLATURE Lawmakers called on the president to initiate a plebiscite, while Premier Frank Hsieh said the `anti-secession' law jeopardizes both sides of the Strait

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Legislative Yuan adopted a non-binding motion yesterday urging President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to initiate a "defensive referendum" in reaction to China's anti-secession law.

"Defensive referendum" refers to a right enshrined in the Referendum Law (公民投票法) in which the president can call a referendum, after obtaining the Cabinet's approval, on issues of national security in the event of a foreign threat that places national sovereignty at stake.

The motion put forth by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) also urged the Cabinet to revise related regulations to make March 14 "Taiwan Anti-Invasion Day" and freeze all dialogue and exchanges with China, which including cross-strait charter flights.

The TSU motion also suggests that the legislature pass a resolution to express its position towards the anti-secession law and pass an "anti-invasion and peace law" as soon as possible.

According to a draft resolution entitled "Uniting Taiwan, resisting invasion and upholding freedom" put forth by the TSU, legislators across party lines are calling on the nation to unify and for all freedom and peace-loving people around the world to halt the vicious, aggressive conspiracy by a minority warlike syndicate within China and safeguard peace and stability across the Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region.

The draft states that freedom and democracy are universal values pursued by all mankind. It says that the people of Taiwan have walked out of the shadows of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-China Communist civil war and Cold War over the past decades and are committed to seeking freedom, peace, democracy and economic development to become a prosperous, democratic and free modern nation.

It says that Taiwan and China are independent of each other and that the Chinese law is an invasion of Taiwan's freedom and democracy.

The text of the resolution will be finalized through inter-party consultations, according to Deputy Legislative Speaker David Chung (鍾榮吉).

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) told lawmakers yesterday morning that the anti-secession law has put both sides of the Taiwan Strait in jeopardy of war and therefore the standard for launching a defensive referendum has been met.

"China's legislation is a war bill that jeopardizes peace in the Taiwan Strait and pushes the cross-strait situation to a non-peaceful state," Hsieh said.

"I am not adverse to amending the Constitution if China uses non-peaceful means to threaten Taiwan and put both sides in danger of war," he said on the legislative floor in response to questions filed by People First Party (PFP) legislators Sun Ta-chen (孫大千) and Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀).

Despite Hsieh's support for a constitutional amendment, he stressed that it is not up to him to decide whether to pass a constitutional revision, but the legislature.

Sun and Chang questioned Hsieh's comment that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait has been changed.

However, they expressed their support for the answer given by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山), who said cross-strait tension has heightened because of the enactment of the law.

If the status quo in the Strait has changed, Chang said, the US must take immediate action to protect Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.

Noting that China's laws do not have power here and that Taiwan and China are two independent countries, Chang said that the nation is belittling its own political status and creating social instability by responding radically to Beijing's new legislation.

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