03/18/2006, 00.00
TAIWAN – CHINA

Protest march in Taipei against Chinese threats

The march was organised by the Democratic Party on the tenth anniversary of China's launch of missiles against Taiwan. Some MPs said popular consensus should instead be sought in reforms and reviving the economy.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Taipei for a protest march against threats from China. The participation of the president, Chen Shui-bian and other officials of the ruling Democratic Party, was expected.

The demonstrators recalled that China had more than 700 missiles targeted at Taiwan and that last year, Beijing approved a law allowing the use of force against the island should it take formal steps towards independence.

Today's protest coincides with the tenth anniversary of a missile launch by China against Taiwan; at the time, the move was seen as a bid to influence the outcome of the island's first direct presidential election.

Some party delegates however said they were against the march, describing it as unnecessary and expensive. They said the party, which suffered a disastrous showing in last year's administrative elections, should seek to regain popular support by focusing on reforms and improving the economy rather than by taking to the streets.

Similar objections were levelled by opposition parties, which organised a big protest last week to call on the government to stop aggravating tension with China and to tend to the economic situation instead.

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