President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday announced the content of his referendum plan, which is to ask the people of Taiwan whether they would support enhancing the nation's defensive capabilities as well as negotiations with China about establishing peace and stability. \n"I would hereby like to announce the questions that will be put to the people of Taiwan for the peace referendum on March 20," Chen said during a pre-recorded TV speech last night. \n"The People of Taiwan demand that the Taiwan Strait issue be resolved through peaceful means. The first question is: `If China refuses to withdraw the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan and to openly renounce the use of force against us, would you agree that the government should acquire more advanced anti-missile weapons to strengthen Taiwan's self-defense capabilities?'" Chen said. \n"And the second question is: `Would you agree that our government should engage in negotiations with China about the establishment of a "peace and stability" framework for cross-strait interactions in order to build consensus and for the welfare of the peoples on both sides?'" the president continued. \nAccording to a government official the wording of the president's referendum question was finalized over the past few days, and the official English translation has been sent to members of the US government. \nThe government official, who declined to be identified, said yesterday that it was not necessary to get approval from or to discuss the wording of the president's referendum question with the US. \n"Since both countries have long-term friendships, we informed the US government, and we are waiting for our friend's reaction," the source said. \nDuring yesterday's TV speech, Chen said that while he has fully abided by the "five noes" promise of his inauguration speech, China has been increasing the number of missiles targeted at Taiwan and has been intensifying its military preparations for a possible attack. \n"China's purpose is unquestionably obvious -- they aim to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait through undemocratic and non-peaceful means, rather than through working with us to maintain stability in the region," Chen said. \nHe said this was why a "peace referendum" would be an effective preventive measure, as it would help to increase people's awareness of and readiness for such a threat, while actively seeking to maintain the status quo. \nChen said he was still committed to reopening dialogue with China, saying that he would invite Beijing's representative to visit Taiwan to resume cross-strait negotiations. \n"If I assume this office as the 11th president of the Republic of China, I will continue to strive to the fullest of my abilities to maintain the status quo and ensure the sovereignty, dignity and security of our country," Chen said. \n"Furthermore, on the basis of maintaining the status quo, I will continue the proposed reengineering of our Constitution. Within the shortest possible time frame, we aim to invite China to appoint a representative to meet with our appointed envoy -- mindful of the democratic choice that has been made by the people of Taiwan -- to commence negotiations on the establishment of a `peace and stability' framework for cross-strait interactions," the president said. \nA top-ranking government official said yesterday that the major significance of Chen's two referendum questions is that the government will have a mandate from the people to draw up its budget, which has been a continued obstacle to the Democratic Progressive Party government in the Legislative Yuan for the past three years. \n"Moreover, the government will also have the mandate to shake hands with Beijing's leaders. Once we get the authority from a majority of the people in Taiwan, the international community will have to ask whether China has the guts to sit down with to talk with Taiwan," the official said.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
‘DOWN TO ZERO 2.0’: All pilots are to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew on long-haul flights have to quarantine for 14 days The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced stricter measures to contain a COVID-19 outbreak among China Airlines (華航) flight crew, as the nature of the confirmed cases indicated an unknown chain of transmission within the airline. The “Down to Zero 2.0” plan will be tough on China Airlines personnel, but is necessary to minimize the risk to society, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Under the measures, all China Airlines pilots and copilots are to be recalled to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew who are returning from long-haul flights or who have
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
SHOPPING MALL: People who have been to places visited by the confirmed cases at about the same time should pay attention to their health condition and report symptoms The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday revealed several locations in Taoyuan and Taipei visited by two people confirmed to have COVID-19 when they were likely contagious. Case No. 1,183 — a China Airlines (華航) pilot, the husband of case No. 1,184 — on May 1 visited the “Pilot in Cafe” coffee shop from 12pm to 12:30pm, the Gloria Outlets (華泰名品城) shopping mall from 1pm to 1:30pm and Hutung Peng’s Old Shop Xinjiang Ramen (胡同彭家老舖新疆拉麵) from 2pm to 2:30pm, all in Taoyuan, the CECC said. People who visited the venues at about those times should pay attention to their health condition, and