Thu, Jul 26, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorials: Politeness wins Taiwan no favors

On April 25, the WHO Secretariat rejected a letter sent by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) requesting the nation be granted membership under the name "Taiwan."

On Monday, the UN Office of Legal Affairs turned down an application submitted by Chen to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for membership in the international organization under the same name.

In both cases, these international organizations ignored their guiding principles and yielded to China's pressure.

And both times, the pan-blue camp, instead of being upset by this unreasonable treatment, slammed the Chen administration for humiliating the nation.

Following this logic, it is best for Taiwan to simply remain silent on matters of international recognition so that it will not suffer the humiliation of rejection.

It's a pathetic mindset well demonstrated by remarks made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier this year when he said that he would not "clash with China" should he be elected next year.

A short sound bite like this might make Ma look like a gentleman, a politician advocating peace. The truth is quite the opposite.

Choosing not to "clash" with China does not mean China will leave Taiwan alone or stop obstructing it in international matters.

Moreover, not provoking China is not tantamount to Taiwan remaining silent and giving up the fight for its dignity.

The pan-blue camp branded the DPP administration's move to join the UN and the WHO under the name "Taiwan" as inviting humiliation.

But isn't it absurd that Taiwan -- despite being noted around the world for its economic development and democratic achievements -- is not recognized as a legitimate member of the international community?

Isn't it foolish that Taiwan can't enjoy what other other countries with populations of 20,000 or 80,000 enjoy -- to be recognized with dignity?

DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh ( 謝長廷) said in Washington on Monday that the US, being a superpower, cannot understand because it has not experienced the same situation.

How true. And the same can apply to many other countries.

Citizens of Japan, Thailand, Germany and other countries can easily say what country they are from. Ask someone from this country the same question, and answers include "Taiwan," "the Republic of China," "Chinese Taipei" and "Taipei, China."

While it may be too much of a cliche to call Taiwan an international orphan, it remains true that Taiwan is in a sad position, being denied international recognition and legitimacy.

Silence is not golden when it comes to Taiwan's plight. If Taiwan does not keep standing and fighting, it will just be a matter of time before it falls victim to China 's saber-rattling and disappears from the map of nations.

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