US Urged to Do More for Peace Across Straits

Beijing has asked Washington to abide by the one-China policy and to do more to "benefit peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits".

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing made the remark when he phoned US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday following the "presidential" election in Taiwan on March 20.

Li called on Washington to do more for the development of relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said yesterday at a press conference.

Powell reiterated that Washington will abide by the one-China policy, Kong said, adding that China has taken note of the US attitude on the current events in Taiwan.

The United States has congratulated Taiwan for conducting an election which resulted in Chen Shui-bian's victory. But it has yet to offer congratulations to Chen personally.

"We must point out that the election in the Taiwan region is only a local election of China," Kong said. "No matter what outcome it produced, it cannot alter the fact that Taiwan is a part of China."

He said that China's only request is that the United States abide by the policies made and reiterated time and again by itself, including the one-China policy, the three Sino-US joint communiques, opposition to "Taiwan independence" and to any attempt in words and deeds by the Taiwan authority to unilaterally change the status quo of Taiwan and seek independence.

The spokesman went on to say that the international community has expressed clear opposition to the current situation in Taiwan and China hopes the international community could join hands to maintain peace and stability in the region. "The crux of the matter is to abide by the one-China principle," he said.

Xinhua News Agency had earlier accused Chen of trying to kidnap the will of the island's people with this month's referendum, and said the vote's failure exposed his "political fraud".

A commentary released on Monday said "the referendum on March 20 was a political fraud meticulously designed by Chen, aiming to split the nation and provoke relations between the two sides."

Chinese people worldwide have denounced the failed "referendum", saying that the facts have proven that this illegal act plotted by Chen goes against the will of most Taiwanese people, Xinhua reported yesterday.

It said any attempt to separate Taiwan from China will meet firm opposition.

In Taipei, Chen asked the parliament yesterday to allow a recount of last week's presidential ballot, but a row between his followers and the opposition Nationalists delayed any decision.

Several thousand supporters of the Nationalists were still massed outside the presidential palace yesterday for a third day, vowing not to go home without a recount of the vote.

Fists flew between ruling party and opposition lawmakers during the parliament committee meeting needed to approve the proposal.

The proposed revision would trigger a recount if the margin of victory was one per cent or below and could be applied retroactively to Saturday's poll, which delivered a win to Chen by only 0.2 per cent.

The DPP, which said it introduced the proposal to seek an earlier resolution to the political deadlock, accused opposition lawmakers of blocking its progress.

(China Daily HK Edition March 24, 2004)