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The "referendum" promoted by Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian over whether the island should join the United Nations under the name "Taiwan" will have a strong impact on cross-Straits relations, a senior mainland official warned yesterday.

Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a press conference that the "referendum" was an important step towards "de jure independence of Taiwan" promoted by Chen Shui-bian.

"The mainland side has the necessary preparations to firmly deter any hazardous separatist activity," said Yang.

The Taiwan authorities, in the face of criticism from Taiwan media and the opposition of the international community, are promoting the "referendum", which seriously endangers the peace of the Taiwan Straits, Yang said.

The Taiwan authorities raised the issue just before the election for the Taiwan leader and have said they wanted to combine the "referendum" with the election. Their aim is to cheat Taiwan people to get more votes and seek "Taiwan independence", said Yang.

If the situation continues, it will definitely have a strong impact on cross-Straits relations, infringe upon the interests of Taiwan and endanger the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits and the Asian-Pacific region, Yang said.

"We hope Taiwan compatriots and the international community see clearly Chen Shui-bian's evil intentions in promoting the 'referendum' and the serious harm caused by it," said Yang.

"The mainland will monitor the situation closely. We will not allow the Taiwan secessionists to split Taiwan from China in any form or by any means," Yang added.

The spokesman also urged Taiwan authorities to honor their word and allow the 2008 Olympic torch to pass through Taipei.

He said the mainland hopes Taiwan will respect the torch relay consensus reached by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC).

"The mainland hopes Taiwan authorities will not let politics interfere with this event," Yang said.

He said the route chosen respected the Olympic Charter and IOC rules and regulations. The Taipei route had been chosen after full discussions between the BOCOG and the CTOC.

The route has been approved by the International Olympic Committee.

"The mainland hopes Taiwan will accept the torch relay route and that Taiwan compatriots will be able to see the flame pass through Taiwan," Yang said.

CTOC Chairman Tsai Chen-wei confirmed in March that the Olympic flame would fly from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Taipei and leave for Hong Kong after the relay in Taipei.

The BOCOG on April 26 unveiled the 137,000-km torch relay route for the 2008 Olympics, including a stop at Taipei.

But some of Taiwan's pro-independence officials immediately rejected the route, claiming the plan "belittles" Taiwan.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2007)

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