President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen made the remarks in a two-hour interview with SET last night.
"The US wanted me to use my influence as the president to stop [the DPP's push for] the proposed referendum," he said.
Saying that a number of polls had indicated that the majority of Taiwanese voters were in favor of holding the referendum, Chen said he could not go against the public opinion, which is what he told the US.
"The US is Taiwan's good friend and Taiwan is a loyal ally of the US...but we need to safeguard Taiwan's interests as well, which revolve around the continuation and pursuit of democracy and exercising universal human rights," he said.
When asked what the result of his refusal to accede to the US' wishes might be, Chen gave an indirect response, saying that if Taiwan wanted China to be happy, "we might as well surrender."
"But when I told [the US] that, the US said `no,'" he said.
Chen said that he had told the US that, Taiwan might as well scrap its defense and foreign affairs and let Taiwan "become part of the People's Republic of China."
"But the US told me `no,' too," Chen said.
When asked whether he was trying to change the name of the country officially from Republic of China (ROC) to Taiwan, Chen said the UN bid had nothing to do with it.
"At least 40 percent of UN members are not using their official country names when participating in the UN. Our official name is still ROC, but we are trying to join the UN with a shorter name. That is all," Chen said.
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