Fri, Nov 17, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese officials protest exclusion from N Korea talks


Taiwanese APEC delegates yesterday lodged a protest over their exclusion from a ministerial meeting on the North Korean nuclear crisis, saying that China's efforts to edge out Taiwan are endangering regional security.

With the exception of Taiwan, foreign ministers from all APEC member states, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星), held a breakfast meeting yesterday at which they discussed the North Korean crisis and how to handle its nuclear weapons drive.

Not invited

Despite being an official member of the economic forum, Taiwan had not been invited to attend the meeting.

Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) and Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽) expressed Taiwan's indignation and regret in a joint letter to the host country.

"China has been willfully edging Taiwan out of all kinds of international events. Although this foreign ministers' meeting is not a formal one, China argued that only sovereign countries could attend this meeting, a position which is obviously targeted at Taiwan," said John Chen (陳忠), director-general of the ministry's Department of International Organizations.

"Taiwan is an important member of the Asia-Pacific region and has taken concrete steps to coordinate with resolutions made by the United Nations after North Korea's nuclear test," Chen said.

Other allies

Although Vietnam had planned to send an official to explain the content of the breakfast meeting to Taiwan, Chen said, "We will obtain any relevant information on nuclear issues from the US or our other allies."

At a press conference held by Japan following a meeting between Li and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, a Japanese official said that the two ministers had agreed to use "objective means" to resolve historical disputes that have plagued the two countries since the early 20th century.

The two countries will hammer out a version of history based on common understanding with the help of academics, the official added.

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Bush seeks to reassure US allies at start of Asia tour

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