Taiwanese Parties Drop Their Opposition to Referendums

From Associated Press

Taiwan's biggest opposition parties made a major policy reversal Wednesday that could further alarm China, dropping their support for a ban on referendums on independence and changing the island's name.

The flip-flop came as China issued a new warning that any moves to allow a referendum on independence would result in "disaster."

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province and insists that the island must unify with the mainland eventually. The island has been resisting China's rule since 1949, when Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan after losing a bloody civil war with the Communists on the mainland.

Taiwan's former ruling Nationalist Party and the smaller People First Party have long opposed President Chen Shui-bian's push for a new constitution and a law that would allow a referendum on independence.

But a Nationalist spokesman said Wednesday that the opposition has reconsidered its policy.

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