KMT to back own referendum on return to U.N.

Thursday, March 13, 2008
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) decided yesterday to back the party’s No. 6 national referendum on Taiwan’s rejoining the United Nations, to be held alongside with the presidential election on March 22.

The party will also boycott the No. 5 referendum on Taiwan’s admission to the U.N. under the name of Taiwan, as put forward by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

But the party said it fully respects voters who decide not to take part in either referendum.

Meanwhile, the KMT will continue pushing for the adoption of a resolution by the Legislative Yuan prodding the government to redouble efforts to make Taiwan a U.N. member again.

KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung formally announced the party’s four major decisions on the U.N. issue after a meeting in the afternoon of its policy-making Central Standing Committee.

He said the decisions were made after President Chen Shui-bian and the Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected the KMT’s request to separate the U.N. referendums from the upcoming presidential election.

The CEC was established with independent authority by the law to supervise and carry out impartial elections in Taiwan. But the agency has relegated itself as a tool of the DPP, Wu pointed out.

He said the KMT and its supporters will boycott the No. 5 referendum proposed by Chen and his DPP because it has been widely criticized by the international community as a provocative act and causing confrontation with China.

Even the United States, Taiwan’s most vital supporter, has repeatedly blasted the DPP’s referendum after Chen refused to revise or withdraw the plan, Wu said.

Other international leaders felt this referendum will bring unpredictable dangers in cross-strait affairs, because it was conceived as a move to change the official title of the Republic of China and change the status quo in the region, he explained.

Wu stressed the KMT has been opposed to the No. 5 referendum from the onset, on grounds that it was only used by Chen to manipulate the presidential election by bundling the two events together.

Other KMT officials branded the move as one of Chen’s many “dirty tricks” and in an attempt to drum up support for the DPP in the election.

All voters in Taiwan should boycott such a referendum with ulterior motives that will severely harm the interests of the nation and its people, Wu said.

On the other hand, he said, the KMT initiated a separate referendum for the nation to “return to the U.N.” to counteract the DPP plot and defuse all possible regional tensions.

But Wu emphasized that the referendum, which was designated as the No. 6 referendum by the CEC, will pose no danger to regional security and won’t undermine the nation’s friendship with the U.S.

This referendum will at the same time more pragmatically and flexibly demonstrate the people’s willingness and determination for the nation to rejoin the U.N. and take part in other major international organizations, he said.

The KMT wants “a return of the Republic of China” to that world body. The ROC was a key founding member of the U.N., from which it was ousted and replaced by Communist China in 1971.

Ma Ying-jeou, KMT candidate for president, said publicly for the first time at a campaign rally in Keelung City in the afternoon that he would support the No. 6 referendum.

He already mentioned earlier that he would abide by any decision his party took.

As for the people who decided to boycott both of the two referendums, Wu said the KMT fully understands their attitude and respects their decision.

He said the referendums in Taiwan have been twisted into a political tool by Chen. Boycotting the referendums is a vote of no confidence in Chen, he added.

Wu said the fourth major decision adopted by the party is to fully back the Legislative Yuan’s plan for the people’s representatives to adopt a resolution urging the government to continue pushing for the nation’s admission to the U.N. and other world bodies.

He said the legislators, newly elected in January, represent the most recent opinions of the people in Taiwan.

KMT lawmakers have forged a three-fourths majority in the parliament and are working together with independent colleagues who have no party affiliations.

The DPP, which now has only 27 lawmakers in the 113-seat parliament, has steadfastly opposed the plan, Wu said.

DPP leaders voiced strong opposition to the four policy decisions concerning the U.N. referendums.

They said that Ma, not President Chen who started the whole U.N. referendum disputes, should take full responsibility for the failure to pass the referendum.

Meanwhile, members of an alliance formed by people who are boycotting all the U.N. referendums, shaved their head outside the Legislative Yuan to show their determination to oppose the plebiscites.

They changed Chen’s slogans and ubiquitous logos like “UN FOR TAIWAN” and “PEACE FOREVER” to “FUN FOR TAIWAN” and “FARCE FOREVER” in the public protest.

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