Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Stirring of Revolutionary Spirit

Taiwan's President Tests China's Nerves, Threatens Sovereignty Vote in March

Stephan Grauwels from the AP reports on the stirring of revolutionary spirit off China...

"TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - One day after Taiwan's president said he might hold a vote on the island's 'sovereignty' in March, the ruling party said Sunday that it hasn't decided what specific issue would be on the ballot and that the public should help it decide.

Holding such a vote could provoke China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has warned the island against seeking a permanant split with the mainland. The two sides separated amid civil war in 1949, and China's says Taiwan must unify eventually or endure another bloody conflict.

On Saturday, President Chen Shui- bian's threat caught many in Taiwan by surprise. In the four years since he was elected, Chen had always said he would push for formal independence only if China tried to use its massive military to force the island to unify.

China is pressuring Taiwan - 100 miles off the mainland's coast - to unify and it has threatened to invade if Taiwan drags its feet too long. Taiwan's close friend, the United States, has helped defend the island before and could be asked to do so again...

'In order to prevent Taiwan's national security and Taiwan's national sovereignty from being threatened by any outside force and from undergoing any change, I have the duty, I have the responsibility to be able to call for a referendum if the government approves,' Chen said."

  • Read the AP Story

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