Referendum on neutrality not likely this year

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 3

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she might postpone until next year a plan to introduce a referendum to declare Taiwan a neutral nation, while urging the creation of a peace mechanism between Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to maintain regional stability.

Lu planned to hold the referendum on Nov. 24 in tandem with the mayoral and councilor elections, but announced on the second day of the East Asia Peace Forum at the Grand Hotel in Taipei that she might postpone the plan until next year, even though she has collected enough petitions to initiate the referendum.

The delay is due to expected political turmoil during the elections, during which a number of referendums on various topics might be held, she said.

“I have collected thousands of petitions for the first stage. I think it will be a chaotic year for elections with a number of [referendum] topics,” Lu said. “It is very likely that I will launch [the neutrality referendum] next year.”

The delay is also so that she can negotiate with regional stakeholders about the plan, which was one reason why she invited politicians and academics from other nations, Lu said.

She also proposed establishing a dialogue mechanism between Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to ensure peace and stability in the region, which is increasingly under the threat of aggression from China and North Korea.

The forum was held to draw experiences from other nations to ease regional tensions, such as South Korean’s success in easing tension with the North during last month’s Winter Olympics, she said.

“The dilemma is to keep friendly relations with the US on the one hand, but on the other hand, China is very sensitive [about Taiwan-US relations], and Taiwan is [sandwiched] between two powers,” she said.