China raps Chen over vote on U.N.

June 13, 2007 at 11:52 PM

BEIJING, June 13 (UPI) -- President Chen Shui-bian has called for a referendum that would allow the citizens of Taiwan to decide whether to join the United Nations.

While Taiwan functions as an independent country, China claims it as a province and only a handful of nations recognize it.

A Chinese official warned Taiwan Wednesday the referendum might be a dangerous step, the official government news agency Xinhua reported.

"The mainland side has the necessary preparations to firmly deter any

hazardous separatist activity," said Yang Yi, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

Support for independence is not universal in Taiwan. The longtime ruling party KMT, which is now in opposition, was founded by Sun Yat-Sen, the first president of the Republic of China, and later headed by Chiang Kai-Shek. The KMT, like the Communist Party of China, has a one-China policy but believes it should be in charge.

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