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Opposition grows in Taiwan on 'UN referendum'
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An increasing number of people from various circles in Taiwan have begun to oppose a "referendum" on the island's proposed entry into the United Nations (UN) under the name of "Taiwan."

At a press conference held by Taiwan-based Democratic Action Alliance (DAA) on Thursday, incumbent Taichung Mayor Jason Hu said the "referendum" had been reduced to a tool for the upcoming Taiwan leadership election.

He branded the vote a "hypothetical topic" utilized to fool voters and called on the public not to take part in the "referendum", which is scheduled for March 22.

At the same press conference, Taiwan New Party chairman Yok Mu-ming criticized outgoing Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian for "consuming" the significance and value of a "referendum" while urging Taiwan residents to reject Chen "referendum's" initiator.

The DAA will launch an anti-"referendum" campaign on March 16 using a chartered train that will travel from Kaohsiung to Taipei with five stops in major cities.

The Taiwan-based Non-Partisan Solidarity Union held a press conference on Wednesday, urging the public not to take part in the vote.

The Taiwan Farmers Party has made similar calls through newspaper ads.

Taiwan's election commission announced last month that a vote on whether the island should seek UN membership under the name "Taiwan," as proposed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), would be held simultaneously with the March 22 Taiwan leadership poll.

The commission also approved holding a second "referendum" on the same day, as proposed by the opposition Kuomintang, on whether the island should return to the global body under any name.

Opinion polls released on March 2 showed that most people in Taiwan, or 63.6 percent, believed that the government should put economic development ahead of seeking to join the UN. Only 0.4 percent considered the bid for UN membership a priority.

The proposed "referendum" would cause negative international influences and inflame tensions with the Chinese mainland, said Tang, former head of the "Taiwan Executive Yuan."

A Taiwan-based newspaper, the United Daily News, carried an editorial on Tuesday, calling on voters to "punish Chen Shui-bian and refuse to pick up 'referendum' ballots."

It called the "referendum" an example of DPP political manipulation and termed it "political chicanery." Most voters had reached a consensus on saying no to the "referendum", the editorial said.

DPRK denounces Taiwan authorities' 'referendum' on UN membership

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)

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