(AFP) – Nov 9, 2007
TAIPEI (AFP) — The de facto US envoy to Taiwan on Friday reiterated Washington's opposition to President Chen Shui-bian's apparent determination to push ahead with a referendum on UN membership for the island.
Independence-leaning Chen has vowed to press ahead with a referendum on whether to apply for United Nations membership under the name "Taiwan" despite opposition from ally Washington and rival Beijing.
"I have regular dialogues with President Chen and the other players in Taiwan on the political side," Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), told reporters.
"I think it is clear to say neither President Chen nor anybody else here in Taiwan should be confused by the effective opposition to the referendum and the reasons."
Young said a referendum was "not necessary" or "helpful" and called on Taiwan to adopt a "careful and moderate approach" in relations with China.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said in August Washington opposed any such referendum because it would be a step to declaring full independence -- a highly sensitive issue with China insisting Taiwan is part of its territory.
Local newspapers said Washington had decided to postpone the sale of dozens of F-16 C/D fighters to Taipei in an effort to show its displeasure.
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 "Taiwan" have been repeatedly blocked by Beijing, which regards the island as part of its own territory awaiting reunification.
Names and titles are highly sensitive in the row between Taiwan and China, which split after the end of a civil war in 1949.
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