U.S. URGES TAIWAN TO BACK DOWN ON REFERENDUM

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 2) - The United States has urged Taiwan's President, Chen Shui-bian, to stick to a previous pledge not to change the status of the island and to drop plans to hold a referendum on its sovereignty.

At a campaign rally at the weekend, Mr Chen said he aimed to hold a referendum on the island's sovereignty alongside presidential elections in March - a move that China has sternly warned against.

An American State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, says the U.S. opposes any attempt by either China or Taiwan to change the existing situation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Mr Boucher has also urged both sides to refrain from actions or statements that increase tensions or make dialogue more difficult to achieve.

December 2, 2003

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

 

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