China on Saturday delivers a strong warning to Taiwan
that any attempt to introduce referenda would escalate
tensions between them, according to reports on
Two senior Chinese officials made the warning
while visiting Washington earlier this week. They were in the
US capital just ahead of Chiou I-jen, a top aide to Taiwan
President Chen Shui-bian, who was in the US for high-level
talks on issues believed to include the referendum plan,
according to the United Daily News.
The visit was confirmed by US
Department of State deputy spokesman Philip Reeker, the paper
Chen Yunlin, director of China's cabinet-level
Taiwan Affairs Office, and his deputy Zhou Mingwei met with US
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James
Kelly during the trip.
Chen and Zhou told the United
States that President Chen's intention to hold a referendum
was a provocative step towards "progressive independence for
Taiwan". This would cross China's "red line" of tolerance and
cause regional tensions, the report said.
government is planning to hold a landmark referendum to decide
whether a controversial half-completed nuclear power plant
should be scrapped, coinciding with the presidential elections
in March next year.
The island also plans to hold a
referendum to show the Taiwanese people's eagerness to join
the World Health Organization which ousted Taipei in 1972
under pressure from Beijing.
The United States has
expressed concern over the plan in view of Chinese fears that
introducing referenda could eventually lead to a vote on
island should declare independence or reunify
China has repeatedly warned Taiwan, which
Beijing considers part of its territory, that it would risk an
attack if it went ahead with a referendum on the island's
On Friday, President Chen reiterated that the
there would be no referendum on independence or