Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (
Huang's call comes as Taiwan's electorate faces the possibility of having two referendums on the same issue when they vote for a new president next March
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has proposed holding a referendum on whether to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has suggested another referendum on "rejoining" the body using the country's official name -- the Republic of China (ROC).
Huang said he told Chen during their 50-minute meeting at the Presidential Office yesterday morning that he realized a majority of the Taiwanese people wanted to join the UN and a referendum on the nation's membership would let the international community hear the voice of the people of Taiwan.
Later yesterday Chen said that he was still thinking over Huang's proposal.
Huang said he was worried that neither of the proposed referendums would pass and if that happened, a second referendum on the same topic would be forbidden for the next three years, as stipulated by the Referendum Law (公投法).
Failure could be disastrous as the international community would then have more legitimacy to oppose Taiwan's UN campaign, Huang said.
While former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said on Wednesday that he did not think it was a good idea to hold the referendum concurrently with the election, Huang yesterday said he did not think Lee was against the referendum and his party did not have any set agenda on the matter.
But he said he hoped Chen would call a meeting to decide the best time to hold the referendum as well as the best question to ask in order to get the most favorable result.
Commenting on criticism of the plan from US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Thomas Christensen, Huang said that he understood the US' position but the administration was not obliged to act on it.
Instead of opposing the campaign, Huang said the US government should support Taiwan's democracy.
"The administration must think about what needs to be done in line with Taiwan's best interests and at the same time maintain its friendship with the US," he said.
Meanwhile, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday again called on the KMT and the DPP to drop their demands for referendums.
It could "put Taiwan in a difficult position when it comes to expanding its international space" if the parties stick to their plans because of election concerns without giving any thought to the international situation, Wang said.
"I fear [the referendums] will do the nation more harm than good because it might find itself more isolated than ever in the international community," Wang said.
He echoed Huang in calling for a national conference to resolve the issue.
In related news, several DPP lawmakers yesterday rejected Lee's disapproval of the referendum campaign after he spoke out against tying the referendums to the presidential election and said that Taiwan is not qualified to be a UN member as its legal status has yet to be confirmed.
"Joining the UN has the support of more than 70 percent of the public. If now is not the right time to hold a referendum, when is?" DPP legislative caucus whip Wang Tuoh (
Responding to the US' criticism, Wang Tuoh said that the US might have mistakenly assessed Taiwan's circumstances, as no single politician is able to suspend the referendum campaign as joining the UN is mainstream opinion in Taiwan.
TSU Legislator Lin Jih-jia (
"Lee sees the bid as the right thing to do, but thinks it shouldn't be rushed," Lin said.
The navy’s new 10,600-tonne warship is on Tuesday to be christened the ROCN Yushan (玉山), as the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding program reaches a milestone, sources said yesterday. The vessel, previously referred to as the “new landing platform dock,” was at a shipyard with its name freshly painted on the hull with the number 1401, the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing an unnamed observer. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a member of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the report in a Facebook post. The NT$4.635 billion (US$163 million) ship is designed
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
‘NOT ENTHUSIASTIC’: People who have been approved by the CECC as special cases who need to travel, such as foreign diplomats, would be able to receive a vaccine The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to the fourth priority group — people who need to travel abroad for special reasons — adding that out-of-pocket vaccines would be available from Wednesday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said although Taiwan’s COVID-19 vaccination program was on Monday expanded to include the top three groups in the priority list, people are still “not enthusiastic” about getting vaccinated. “Only 1,220 people received a vaccine shot on Tuesday, and a total of 27,113 people have received COVID-19 vaccination” so far, he