Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday dismissed the government's efforts at joining the UN as "superficial," saying that more attention should be devoted to developing a more convincing argument.
Taking the Government Information Office's recent UN promotion campaign as an example, Lu said that it was regrettable that it was so shallow.
She said that the government should spend more time and energy soliciting the opinions of international law experts on the nation's international status and find a way to persuade other countries to support the nation's UN bid.
"We don't need experts to launch superficial promotion campaigns while walking around the UN building tittering with joy. Anyone can do that," she said. "I feel sorry that there wasn't anything deeper, any concrete plan such as how to make connections with people inside the UN."
Despite the failure of all previous efforts, Lu said that the nation should not give up on striving for UN membership, as "it's never too late."
Lu, an avid activist for Taiwanese UN membership before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, also expressed regret that she had not been involved in any of the decision-making for the nation's UN bids during her term.
Meanwhile, former US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs Randall Schriver said yesterday that the US did not oppose Taiwan holding a referendum as such, but was concerned about the content of the referendum.
Schriver, who is heading a delegation of American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) specialists, arrived in Taipei on Monday for a five-day visit at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Schriver and two of his team members, AEI research fellow Christopher Griffin and AEI research assistant Laura Conniff, held a question-and-answer session with reporters at the Caesar Park Hotel in Taipei.
The US government's attitude toward the referendum plan was the focal point of the one-hour session.
Speaking about his meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Wednesday, Schriver said that the US government supported Taiwan's democracy and that referendums were a part of democracy.
"But it is the content of the referendum, not the referendum itself, that concerns some in the US government," Schriver said. "I think it is the content that matters."
Schriver said that if the US government had problems with Taiwan's plan, he would advise it to suggest alternatives or ways to help Taiwan maintain democracy instead of merely criticizing the referendum.
When asked for his opinion on Chen's planned stopovers in the US en route to Central America later this month, Schriver said that he thought this should not be linked to other issues, adding that some in Washington tended to use the issue as leverage if they have disagreements or difficulties with Taiwanese leaders.
Schriver said that he and the AEI study team would publish a research paper on US-Taiwan relations next year with the aim of providing the next US president with reference material for policy-making on US-Taiwan relations including politics, the economy and military affairs.
Griffin suggested that instead of focusing on crisis management in US-Taiwan relations, those involved should seek a more positive partnership.
In related news, Chen yesterday morning called on voters to support the DPP's plan to hold a referendum on joining the UN under the name "Taiwan."