Russia concerned over Taiwan's UN referendum

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Moscow, Mar 20: An upcoming referendum in Taiwan on UN membership could seriously destabilise the situation in the Asian-Pacific Region, a Russian deputy foreign ministry source said. On March 22, Taiwan is set to hold a referendum on United Nations membership under the name of Taiwan rather than its formal title of the Republic of China. Presidential elections are also set for the same day.

The referendum could have ''a destabilising impact on the political climate in the Asia-Pacific Region,'' Mr Andrei Denisov said yesterday. He added that the majority of countries, including Russia, viewed Taiwan as an inseparable part of China. The move to seek membership in the UN under the name of Taiwan would likely be seen by Beijing as a step towards sovereignty by Taiwan. China has long threatened a military invasion if the island announces its full independence.

Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan, which split from the mainland in 1949 during the Chinese Civil War, to mainland rule.

''Russia's principal position on Taiwan is well-known. We are against Taiwan's independence in any form. We believe that the resolution of the issue is purely China's interior affair,'' RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

On September 30, 2007, Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party approved a resolution asserting separate identity from China.

However, the opposition Kuomintang party, which favours closer ties with China, recently won a landslide victory in parliamentary polls and many political analysts suggested the pro-independence movement might now have had its day.

Current Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who has long pushed for independence for Taiwan, is due to step down after eight years in office after the March 22 elections.

UNI

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