Tue, Jan 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

US expects Chen to uphold cross-strait `status quo'

FRIENDLY REMINDER A US State Department spokes-woman, responding to Chen's address, noted that he had repeatedly promised not to change Taiwan's status

CNA , WASHINGTON

KMT legislative caucus whip Pan Wei-kang, center, presides over a gathering to denounce President Chen Shui-bian's New Year speech as no more than an attempt to dodge blame for his administration's poor performance. She is flanked by KMT legislators Lee Ching-hua, left, and Lai Shyi-bao, right.

PHOTO: SUNG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Washington expects President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to stick to his commitments on cross-strait relations, including not changing the "status quo," in promoting future constitutional reforms, a US State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Duty press officer Janelle Hironimus said the US does not object to the promotion of good governance in Taiwan through referendums or constitutional reforms.

"Chen Shui-bian has repeatedly pledged not to declare independence, not to change Taiwan's name, not to add the state-to-state theory into the constitution and not to promote a referendum to change the status quo on independence or unification," Hironimus said.

"We expect that President Chen will adhere to his pledges, which we take very seriously, when undertaking any further constitutional reforms," she added.

In his New Year address, Chen renewed his promise to give the people of Taiwan a new constitution that is timely, relevant and viable by 2008, saying he hopes a draft on the new constitution initiated by civic groups could be completed this year and that a referendum on the draft could be held next year.

Also in his address, Chen said the development of relations between Taiwan and China must adhere to the four principles of "sovereignty, democracy, peace and parity."

Hironimus reiterated that Washington does not support Taiwan independence and opposes unilateral changes to the cross-strait "status quo" by either Taipei or Beijing.

"We have consistently urged Taipei and Beijing to work to achieve direct dialogue, and we believe such efforts should continue at all levels as opportunities permit," she said.

She noted that the "one China" policy, the Taiwan Relations Act and the three US-China joint communiques remain the basis guiding unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan.

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