The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it will fight to allow Taiwan to participate in two upcoming international conferences in Jakarta and Geneva to deal with relief efforts in tsunami-devastated Asian countries.
On Jan 6, leaders of the ASEAN plan to hold a special summit on disaster assistance in Jakarta. In addition, the UN is holding its own disaster conference in Geneva on Jan. 11.
Taiwan has not been invited to attend either conference.
"Although Taiwan is not invited, we are putting in our best efforts to seize the opportunities to participate in these two events. Taiwan's experience in disaster reconstruction will be worth contributing to international community," ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said last night.
Lu explained that, aside from conference participation, on a more practical level, Taiwan's donations and various relief efforts have clearly illustrated their desire to contribute to the international community, while Taiwan's experience in coping with the 921 earthquake and the subsequent reconstruction efforts could serve as a useful reference point to countries affected by the disaster.
"As part of the global village, Taiwan will do its best to give back to the community," Lu said.
According to media reports, many international political heavyweights have been invited to the ASEAN disaster summit, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Representatives from China, Australia and Japan are all on the invitation list.
Taiwan's pledge of US$50 million in financial aid to countries affected by the crisis has made it one of the top ten aid donors in the world.