Tue, Jan 18, 2005 - Page 8 News List


Ban should cover `dual use'

The EU's plan to develop a "code of conduct" before lifting the arms embargo imposed against China simply will not work ("Arms Ban on China to be Lifted," Jan. 14, page 1). Once the weapons are sold to China, how can EU nations interfere in its internal affairs -- and how will the Chinese military use it?

The US, which opposed the EU's move, should have learned a painful lesson from its own sales of "dual-use" technologies (which have civilian and military implications) to ostensibly civilian organizations and academic institutions in China: supercomputers and rocket and satellite technologies wound up in military-controlled front companies or field sites of military regions.

The EU should not delude itself and risk a major confrontation with the US. The EU can sell other products and services to China.

Vincent Wang

Richmond, Virgina

Exclusion is an outrage

The tragedies caused by the devastating tsunami that struck Southeast Asia have raised an all-out relief effort from around the globe. Taiwan -- itself a weathered victim of natural disasters -- and its people have once again shown their sincere philanthropy toward tsunami victims by emptying their pockets and gathering essential food and medical supplies for the affected countries.

Unfortunately, Taiwanese's relief supplies have been kept at bay, and Taiwan, even as one of the major contributors, has been denied representation in conferences coordinating relief efforts, simply because of the unjustified and inhumane pressure from one of the members of the UN. Such an act not only hurts the feeling of the people of Taiwan but also affects the very survival of the tsunami victims.

As dismaying as it is, this turn of events is not new to Taiwanese. Two years ago, when Taiwan was under the full-scale assault of the SARS virus originating in China, the very same country claiming to represent Taiwan did its best to keep the World Health Organization from delivering critical samples to Taiwan for establishing diagnostic protocols.

Such an evil deed was by no means less brutal than the gassing of the Kurdish by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and deserves the harshest condemnation by the global community. However, the UN's inability to resolve international disputes and enforce resolutions continues to encourage the display of barbarian behaviors by rogue nations.

The UN and its affiliated organizations' negligence in acknowledging Taiwan as a sovereign political entity was once again shown in an article published in the September 2004 issue of National Geographic, authored by the director of the UN Secretariat for Disaster Reduction, Salvano Briceno.

In the article Briceno listed the seven deadliest quakes from the past 30 years, including 2002 Molise earthquake in Italy that killed 29 people and 1994 Northridge earthquake in California that claimed 58 victims. As unbelievable as it is, the list doesn't include the killer quake that rocked Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999, claiming more than 2,400 lives, including those of my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law, and causing a direct property loss of around US$10 billion.

The failure of Briceno's staff in recognizing the level of damage caused by the quake, which seems to imply that Briceno and his staff have deemed the lives perished in Taiwan unworthy of mentioning and the lessons so traumatically experienced by Taiwanese irrelevant to the glorious goal of "Disaster Reduction" of his organization, is puzzling and extremely disheartening to the families of the 921 victims.

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