Referendum bid could lead to 'high-risk period'

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-12-18 06:53

Beijing's top official on cross-Straits affairs Monday condemned a referendum pushed by Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian as a move that is threatening to drag ties into a "high-risk period".

Chen Yunlin, minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, called the referendum to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan as a "scheme" aimed at de jure independence for the island.

The Taiwan authorities led by Chen Shui-bian are "attempting to change the cross-Straits status quo that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China " Chen Yunlin said in a signed article published Monday in the latest issue of Qiushi (Seeking Truth) journal, a publication of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The article came amid mounting concerns from across the Straits and international community over the proposed referendum, which is expected to strain cross-Straits relations and threaten regional stability.

In an interview with a German newspaper published Monday, Chen Shui-bian insisted the referendum for Taiwan's admission to the UN will be slated for March as scheduled, along with the island's "presidential" elections.

The Taiwan leader was quoted as saying he has no rights to "veto the referendum".

Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, rapped Chen Shui-bian in a meeting in Taipei last week, saying the United States is greatly concerned about the referendum and hopes it will be scrapped.

He said his remarks represented views from the "highest level in Washington".

Once Chen Shui-bian's plot materializes, "it will bring serious consequences cross-Straits relations and peace", Chen Yunlin warned in the article.

The minister said the fight against pro-independence forces is becoming more and more intense as their secessionist activities are being intensified.

He stressed that "China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division, and any matter in this regard must be decided by the entire Chinese people including our Taiwan compatriots".

"The 1.3 billion Chinese people will never swallow the bitter fruit of 'Taiwan independence'," Chen Yunlin said.

He reiterated that Beijing will stay on high alert of any desperate moves of the secessionist forces of Taiwan.

In the event that "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, we shall resort to necessary measures without hesitation to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, our core national interests," he said.

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