(AFP) – Dec 5, 2007
LONDON (AFP) — Britain opposes Taiwan's plan for a referendum on pushing for UN membership, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday, adding that any "reckless manoeuvres" were to be "deplored."
Britain's policy towards Taiwan had not changed in the past 35 years, Miliband said after talks in London with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
"I'm happy to repeat for this audience what I said to the foreign minister about this issue," Miliband told reporters.
"British policy in respect of Taiwan was set in 1972 when we first exchanged ambassadors between out two countries. Our One China policy has not changed.
"We do not support the proposed referendum in Taiwan for it to gain membership of the United Nations under the name of Taiwan."
He added: "We think it is very important that all sides act with real restraint given the need for stability across the Taiwan Straits and any reckless manoeuvres are to be deplored."
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian intends to hold a referendum next year.
France and the United States have already expressed their opposition to the plan.
Along with Britain, China and Russia, they make up the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who all have veto-wielding powers on resolutions.
Taiwan, under its official name the Republic of China, lost its UN seat to China in 1971.
Efforts in the past 14 years to rejoin the world body, using the name Republic of China, have been repeatedly blocked by Beijing, which regards the island as part of its own territory awaiting reunification.
The two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.
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