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Russia says Taiwan’s U.N. plebiscite is “escapade”

March 20, 2008

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Wednesday threw its weight behind its close ally China, saying Taiwan‘s plan to hold a referendum on whether to seek United Nations membership was a “political escapade.”

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive party presidential candidate ...
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh lights a flame symbolizing human rights and freedom during a vigil in support of Tibet in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, March 19, 2008. China’s crackdown on protest in the Himalayan territory of Tibet has become an issue for candidates in Saturday’s presidential election on the island of Taiwan. China controls Tibet and also hopes to eventually rule democratic Taiwan – just 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the southern Chinese coast.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Taiwan, which China claims as its own, is due to hold the plebiscite alongside a presidential election on March 22, ignoring warnings from countries such as the United States, France and Japan as well as China.

“We have been watching with unease Taiwan’s preparations to hold a referendum on joining the U.N. under the name of ‘Taiwan’,” Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said in remarks posted on the ministry’s site (

“We are deeply convinced that this political escapade, persistently promoted by the authorities of the island, is an explosive of huge destructive potential.”

“It … already starts having a destabilizing impact on the Asia-Pacific Region and threatens the interests of peace and development.”

If Taiwan’s motion is passed, it would be perceived by Beijing as a formal declaration of independence but will fail because China holds a veto in the U.N. Security Council.

“Carried away by its separatist rhetoric, Taiwan’s leadership overlooks the fact that the issue of Taiwan’s membership in the U.N. does not exist as such,” Denisov said.

Earlier this month the European Union said it was concerned by Taiwan’s plans to hold the referendum.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Giles Elgood)