Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 1 News List

GIO to host UN forum on `Washington Post' Web site

By Jewel Huang and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

In an effort to boost the nation's campaign to join the UN, the Government Information Office (GIO) yesterday unveiled a plan to hold an online chat session via the Washington Post's Web site late today.

"The Washington Post is one of the most influential newspapers in the world. We are hoping that our voice -- and Taiwan's desire to become a UN member -- will be heard through better communication with our foreign friends," said GIO Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) during a press conference yesterday.

Cheng said the GIO will host the event -- part of the Post's regular "Live Viewpoint Discussion" online forums -- at the GIO at 10pm today.

Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive, the webmaster for washingtonpost.com, worked with the GIO, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Soochow University department of political science director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) to set up the forum with the newspaper's online readers.

Online chat

"Hsiao and Lo will answer all kinds of questions from Washington Post readers during the one-hour event. All the details of the online conversations will be stored on washingtonpost.com for a year," Cheng said.

The Washington Post is a daily newspaper that has a circulation of about 700,000. Approximately 8 million readers surf its Web site each month, according to the site.

"We want to let more people know that the 23 million Tai-wanese citizens also have the right to participate in the UN and their voices should be heard, too," Cheng said.

In related news, a group of pro-independence advocates set out for the US yesterday to promote the country's UN bid.

The group said it was a milestone for them to leave the country for the UN mission one day after CKS International Airport was officially renamed "Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport."

About 60 members from the "Taiwan UN Alliance" are taking part in the trip.

The "Taiwan UN Alliance" was founded in 2003 by independence advocacy groups and the Taiwan Presbyterian Church to promote Taiwan's right to become a UN member.

The alliance has been making annual trips to the US since 2003.

According to Reverend Hsu Cheng-dao (許承道) of Taipei's Gikong Presbyterian Church, the alliance will hold a small parade, choir recital, poetry reading and dance on Sept. 12 in front of the UN building to voice Taiwan's hope of joining the UN.

Members will also go to Boston, New York and Twin Oaks in Washington to convey the same message.

Timely change

Hsu, referring to the CKS Interna-tional Airport, which was officially renamed Taiwan Taoyuan Interna-tional Airport on Wednesday, said: "We think it is meaningful for our mission to the US. It shows that times have changed and the UN should change as well."

"For the first time, we are leaving Taiwan from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport," Hsu said at a press conference held yesterday in Taipei prior to the group's departure.

"We are glad to see that the airport is finally wiped off the totem left by dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石)," he added.

Reverend William Lo (羅榮光), secretary-general of the Taiwan UN Alliance, said that the country needed to let the world know that Beijing's oppression of Taiwan was unfair and immoral.

"To my surprise, many people in the world have no idea that Taiwan is not yet a member of the UN," Lo said.

"Although this is the harsh reality, we cannot simply give up our quest to regain UN membership," Taiwan Hand-in-Hand Alliance leader Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂) said at the press conference.

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