Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Referendum campaigners facing Beijing's wrath: Lu

`ANTI-SECESSION' LAW The vice president urged the nation's political parties to set aside their differences and work together on a single referendum proposition

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Beijing is considering classifying individuals who aggressively push a referendum campaign for Taiwan to join the UN as "criminals," Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday, citing government intelligence.

Lu said hawkish Chinese officials have proposed listing those pushing Taiwan's UN referendum as criminals as they would be violating China's "Anti-Secession" Law, which sanctions the use of military force to invade Taiwan if the latter declares statehood.

She said that since Beijing drew unprecedented condemnation from the international community for enacting the law, China was bound to face formidable international pressure if the authoritarian regime dared put its military threats into action.

"There is no room for political disagreement on the UN bid," she said. "We must do the right thing and do things right."

While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is planning to mount another referendum on whether to "return" to the UN under the country's official name, Republic of China, Lu yesterday urged the ruling and opposition parties to engage in negotiations on a single referendum.

The success of the UN referendum is crucial, Lu said, because the international community can no longer ignore the will of the Taiwanese people if the referendum passes. But if it fails, it will put the country in a worse position than it is now.

Lu made the remarks while having a luncheon with the Presidential Office press corps yesterday afternoon.

Before the nation takes the matter to the international court or an arbitration tribunal, Lu said, the administration might want to hire foreign and local experts in international law to develop a convincing discourse.

Lu said she was worried that the UN was being significantly influenced by China following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's rejection of Taiwan's application for UN membership.

"As the US government has expressed concern over Ban's misinterpretation of UN Resolution 2758, we must take advantage of the opportunity to work with the United States and try to turn things around," she said.

Lu, an avid activist for Taiwan's UN membership before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, said it was regretful that she had not been involved in decision-making for the UN campaign during her term.

She said the affair was run by someone "who doesn't know anything about the matter" and who had wasted much time over the past seven years.

Commenting on the DPP's drafting of a "normal country resolution," Lu said the term sounded odd and that it would make more sense to change it to "country normalization resolution."

While the draft has received a mixed response from party members, Lu said that different opinions were normal and welcome, and that the public should not interpret them as division.

Lu said that the DPP's presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), deserved respect for voicing concern about the timing of the resolution, because he would be the one who bears the brunt of its ramifications.

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