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PacNet #48 – Taiwan Referendum: Waving a Red Flag

TAIPEI – Is President Chen Shui-bian trying to provoke a crisis with the PRC in the run up to the March 2004 presidential elections in Taiwan? Taiwan government spokesmen say no, but there is a growing perception among cross-Strait watchers that Taipei is purposefully baiting Beijing in hopes of provoking a hostile response (a la the 1996 missile “tests”) that will cause the island’s public to rally around the flag (and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party) in the name of Taiwanese nationalism.