Tue, Aug 31, 2004 - Page 8 News List

UN bid takes toughened stance

By Cheng Tzu-leong 鄭自隆

Government Information Office (GIO) Director-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) in Nicaragua unveiled this year's design for the advertising campaign to support Taiwan's bid to enter the UN. This year's appeal appears to be much clearer than the previous ones.

It's Taiwan's 12th bid for UN membership. This year's campaign has adopted a tougher stance -- "Stop political apartheid" -- in the hope that the world body will cease segregating the 23 million people in Taiwan given its principle to generalize membership. With this change, the GIO has also adopted a different campaign strategy in advertising, replacing the traditional low-key, indirect soft-sell with a tough and direct hard-sell.

One of the two news releases issued by the GIO is titled "Unfair," with a subtitle asking "is it fair for the UN to exclude Taiwan from the UN?" It's a creative use combining the words "UN" and "fair." The release goes on to say that as the UN is a world family, it's unjust to exclude Taiwan's 23 million people. The slogan used in this campaign is "support Taiwan's participation in the UN." The logo used is "today's Taiwan, ROC," different from the previous use of the full name the Republic of China.

The other news release states that "authoritarian China cannot represent democratic Taiwan." It goes on to say that China claims to represent Taiwan in the UN, but it is not entitled to as the 23 million people in Taiwan need to have their own voice.

This year's advertising campaign for entering the UN was initiated and executed by the GIO. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan Thinktank, the Medical Professionals Alliance and communications academics have been invited to form a review committee, not only to evaluate the creativity of the campaign but also to assess whether these strategies can effectively convey the country's appeal in conformity with its foreign policies.

Since 1993, Taiwan has tried to put forward motions with the help of its allies. The country first hoped that the UN General Assembly could establish a special research committee to study Taiwan's chances of entering the UN. The advertisement used in 1993 was an image of a multi-seated bicycle with countries trying to ride uphill with great difficulty because one seat is empty -- implying Taiwan's participation would help the UN and make its operation less arduous. That year's topic focused on Taiwan's willingness to do something for the international community, as well as the injustice that China had done to Taiwan by boycotting its international space.

The theme of Taiwan's advertisement in 1994 was a green traffic light. The campaign urged the UN to lift its ban on Taiwan's entry and allow the nation to play a more active role in the international community.

In 1995, the UN's 50th anniversary, Taiwan's advertisement was a puzzle of the UN's logo with the number 50 on it. But the puzzle looked incomplete because the piece for Taiwan was missing, showing that the UN lacks overall representativeness given Taiwan's absence.

In 1996, China repeatedly threatened Taiwan and even launched military exercises across the Taiwan Strait before the presidential election. To maintain peace across the Strait and reduce China's hostility, then minister of foreign affairs John Chang (章孝嚴) suspended the campaign since entering the UN was not the government's first priority.

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