Wed, Aug 16, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lu urges peace on Korean Peninsula

REFERENDUM PLAN:The former vice president said she was still planning to push for a referendum on a proposal that would make Taiwan a permanently neutral nation

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Supporters yesterday hold a banner as former vice president Annette Lu, third right, announces she has sent a letter to US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, urging them to back away from a military confrontation.

Photo: Su Fang-ho, Taipei Times

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday sent an open letter to US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, urging them to exercise restraint amid escalating military tension.

The letter, sent on the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II, urges the two leaders to “exhaust all possible diplomatic means to find peaceful solutions” to the confrontation that has brought East Asia to the brink of nuclear war, Lu said.

“World War II ended 72 years ago, but peace has been shattered like thin paper. We are on the brink of war,” Lu said.

The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1984 stipulated that peace is a universal human right, Lu said, adding that countries should endeavor to maintain peace and resort to nonmilitary means to resolve conflicts.

Taiwan should play an “active role in peacemaking” as it has always been implicated in regional conflicts between other countries, she said, noting that it was ceded to Japan in 1895 following the First Sino-Japanese War.

After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the US dispatched its Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait and declared the area neutral waters, averting a possible military invasion by China, but to end the Vietnam War, the US gave up Taiwan in exchange for China’s support, although it did not switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing until 1979, Lu said.

“These incidents are not distant past. It teaches us that Taiwan’s future could change greatly when there is a war in the area,” Lu said.

She said the letter would be delivered to the US and North Korea, and she would connect with international organizations to promote Taiwan’s role as a regional peacemaker.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lu Sun-ling (呂孫綾), a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, and several veteran politicians endorsed the letter.

Meanwhile, Lu reiterated her idea of a referendum to make Taiwan a permanently neutral country.

She originally planned — if an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) could be passed by the legislature next month — to begin a petition campaign in October to gather 300,000 signatures in six months in support of holding the proposed referendum alongside next year’s mayoral and councilor elections.

However, the delay in legislation has hampered her plans and she said she spoke to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) about the delay during a meeting on Friday and Tsai said the legislation would be passed by the end of this year.

Lu quoted Tsai as saying that there was no “external pressure” holding up the legislation.

There has been speculation that the delay was due to US concerns about the legislation’s implication on territorial changes and other sensitive issues.

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