The Peace and Neutrality for Taiwan Alliance, led by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), yesterday stated its intention to hold a referendum for a neutral Taiwan in tandem with local elections next year, urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to sign and promulgate the amended Referendum Act (公民投票法) as soon as possible.
Lu told a news conference in Taipei that she believes that Taiwan must pursue neutrality and should not “sit idly by and wait for the end to come,” while sandwiched between China and the US.
We must make our own path and with the amendment of the Referendum Act, it is possible for the 23 million people of Taiwan to, with collective public wisdom, formulate the correct sort of public consciousness, Lu said.
Photo: George Tseng, Taipei Times
Our path would be one of peaceful neutrality, to focus on humanitarian efforts, to befriend the US and the Japanese while making peace with the Chinese, Lu said, adding that the ultimate goal is to establish friendly and egalitarian relations with other nations around the globe.
The proposal has more than 20,000 supporting signatures and was drafted in accordance with the original Referendum Act, the alliance said.
With the amendments passed on Tuesday, the proposal has reached the revised threshold.
Under the amended act, the threshold for initiation of a referendum was lowered from 0.005 percent of the electorate in the most recent presidential election — or about 90,000 people — to 0.0001 percent — or about 1,800 — while the second-stage signature threshold was dropped from 5 percent — or 900,000 voters — to 1.5 percent — or about 280,000.
The passing requirement has been amended to a simple majority vote that would see any referendum act passed if supporting votes exceed nay-saying votes and comprise one-quarter — instead of half — of the eligible voting population.
Once Tsai signs the bill, the alliance plans to submit its proposal to the Central Election Commission, Lu said, adding that the plan is to gather 280,000 signatures within six months and hold the referendum alongside next year’s nine-in-one local elections.
Former deputy minister of foreign affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) said that the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” policy and the US “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” policy is a new balance of terror.
The neutrality of Taiwan would not only maintain its safety, but also diffuse tension between the two world powers, a contribution to both Taiwan and the world alike, Kao said.
Former Nantou County commissioner Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯) said he supports the “neutral Taiwan” concept out of concern that Taiwan’s national identity has been divided by potential resumption of hostilities with China.
In addition, Lu said that she is planning a forum to be held in March on the possibility and effects of Taiwan becoming neutral.
More than 30 experts and academics are to be invited from more than 10 countries, including the US and Japan, Lu said, adding that she is also trying to invite Chinese experts to the forum.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm