Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian made a call last weekend for a referendum to decide what Taiwan's sovereignty would be. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway republic which it says will invade by force if independence is declared.

Richard Boucher of the US State Department is asking Chen not to have a referendum which would change Taiwan's name. He says that Chen pledged to do this in 2000. He warns both sides from making statements which will escalate tensions.

The US says it believes in one China of which Taiwan is part of. Chen, however, sees the missiles pointed at Taiwan from China as a good reason to call for a vote on independence. Chen will also face elections in March.