Taiwan president says US will recognize Taipei diplomatically


Taipei : Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian Sunday said the US would be forced to recognize both Taipei and Beijing diplomatically if the island passes a referendum on changing its name in seeking accession to the United Nations.

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“The US will have to review its ‘one China’ policy and consider adopting dual recognition” towards Taipei and Beijing, said Chen during a rally in Taipei.

Chen plans to hold a controversial referendum alongside the presidential election in March next year on using the Taiwan name instead of its official Republic of China title to join the UN.

Taipei applied last month to join the international body, but the UN rejected the application on the grounds that Taiwan is not a state.

To promote his bid, Chen has pushed for the holding of a UN membership referendum in Taiwan. But Washington has questioned Chen’s intention in holding the referendum, saying that if 70 percent of the island’s residents support the UN bid as Chen has said, there is no need for a public vote.

Washington suspects that the planned referendum is actually the first step for the island to hold a plebiscite on declaring independence, something Beijing has repeatedly said would lead to a cross-strait war.

The US has warned that Chen’s move would further escalate tension between Taiwan and its long-time rival China on the grounds that the referendum would be a vote to drop the official Republic of China title and uses the Taiwan name.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island an integral part of China that must be brought back to its fold, if necessary by force.

Chen stopped short of saying why the US, which has formal ties with Beijing instead of Taipei, would consider dual recognition towards Taiwan and China.

He, however, stressed the planned referendum underscores Taiwan’s democratic value and its national sovereignty. “It also represents the rectification of Taiwan’s national title,” Chen said, adding the world is watching the result of the referendum attentively.