UN MEMBERSHIP: Chen says China, not US, blocking referendum plan


Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 3

Saying that the main problem obstructing the UN referendum issue originated in China and not the US, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged everyone in Taiwan to focus on the right target.

"We are not taking aim at the US or US President George W. Bush. The enemy is China and the Chinese Communist Party," Chen said on a visit to Taichung yesterday.

"China is the dictator that does not want to talk about democracy and ignores the will of 23 million Taiwanese ... it is China that's stopping Taiwan from joining the UN," he said.

Democratization is what scares China the most, and democracy's most concrete expression is a referendum, Chen said, adding that, as a sovereign country, Taiwan had the right to join the UN.

The nation's 15th annual bid to join the world body will be put before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

In a videoconference with the Overseas Press Club of America in New York last night, Chen said that the US had been the first to change Taiwan's official title.

He said that when Taiwanese apply for a US visa with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), they list their nationality as "Republic of China" on the application form, but when they receive the visa their country of origin is given as "Taiwan."

"Why is it acceptable for the US to change our country's name, but when we ourselves want to change our country's name, it is considered wrong?" Chen asked.


Earlier yesterday, Chen urged people to take part in the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) rally to be held in Kaohsiung this afternoon in support of the party's UN referendum proposal on entering the UN under the name "Taiwan."

The rally today is scheduled to start at the intersection of Chungshan and Minsheng roads in Kaohsiung at 4pm and head north along Chungshan and Bo-ai roads to the intersection of Bo-ai and Shennung roads.

In addition to Chen, senior pan-green camp politicians including Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun will also take part in the rally.

Chen is to deliver a speech at the rally that will be transmitted via a live video uplink to a similar event in front of the UN's New York headquarters.

The DPP has said it expected 500,000 people at the rally.

In response to the scale of the rally, the Kaohsiung Police Bureau plans to implement traffic controls in the afternoon and evening. No vehicles will be allowed south to Chungcheng Fourth Road, north to Wufu Third Road, west to Linsen First Road and east to Chunghua Third Road between 1pm and 7pm.

The youth department of Hsieh's office yesterday launched a campaign titled "Taiwan, My Country" and presented a campaign logo in the form of a burning phoenix, which the department said symbolized the transformation of Taiwan.

"Most young people in Taiwan now believe that Taiwan is a nation and that Taiwan's voice must be heard," the youth department's chief executive officer Chang Chia-ling (張嘉玲) said.

Another logo, using a fire motif, was also unveiled, carrying the slogan "I love Taiwan love me" (我愛台灣愛我).

Chang said the logo symbolized that patriotism should become a fashionable idea in Taiwan.

At a separate setting yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus Secretary-General Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) accused the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York of mobilizing Taiwanese students in the US to participate in the rally at the UN headquarters.

The office even offered students between US$20 and US$75 as compensation, Kuo said.

In response, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) confirmed that an office secretary had sent out messages to the students urging them to take part in the rally, but said that they were not offered money.

Huang said that promoting Taiwan's participation in the UN was a government policy and that the government held similar rallies or campaigns every year.


The KMT plans to hold its own rally this afternoon in Taichung to promote its proposed referendum on returning to the UN and other international organizations.

The rally will start at 4pm at 823 Park and march toward the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, where a party is to be held until 9pm.

The KMT has created 10 floats for the rally featuring different themes to highlight civic problems, such as credit card debt and the suicide rate.

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), party Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) are scheduled to take part in the event.

Former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is not expected to attend the rally.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih