The Presidential Office yesterday said the priority for the administration’s UN bid was to participate in the international organization and that the name it would use to apply to join was secondary.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had finalized the strategy the administration would adopt this year before he embarked on an eight-day state visit to Latin America and the Caribbean yesterday afternoon.
Wang, however, refused to reveal what name the country would use in the bid, saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) would make the announcement on Friday.
Wang said that Ma’s position on the matter had been clear and consistent, adding that any approach must be “practical” and “flexible.”
Media reports said that authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would adopt a “gentle” approach that is “low key,” “practical” and “rational.”
Speculation abounds that the administration is unlikely to use “Taiwan,” the name the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration used to apply for full membership last year. Nor was it likely to use “Republic of China,” the name proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in a referendum held in tandem with the presidential election in March. The referendum failed along with one initiated by the DPP, which proposed joining the UN under the name “Taiwan.”
Wang yesterday declined to speculate whether prospects were better this year because the president and vice president of this year’s UN General Assembly are from the country’s diplomatic allies. This year also saw the highest number of the country’s diplomatic allies sitting on the General Committee since the country began its bid to re-enter the UN.
The DPP caucus yesterday criticized the government’s strategy of “not emphasizing the nation’s name” when applying to join the UN.
DPP legislative caucus whip Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) told a press conference that the KMT government is prepared to dismiss the name of Taiwan for the country’s bid to join the UN and various international organizations.
Citing Ma’s previous remarks saying that he would not mind if China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) addresses him as “Mr Ma” if he visits Taiwan later this year, Chang said that “Ma’s dismissal of Taiwan and the presidential title would be the first step leading to the country’s death.”
DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said the government’s strategy would weaken Taiwan’s sovereignty and confuse national identity.
DPP lawmakers asked the government to apply for UN membership using the name “Taiwan.”
At a separate setting, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said “the KMT’s cross-strait policies and its approach to Taiwan’s bid to join various international organizations obviously reflect old KMT government thinking of the last century.”
Since the global stage has changed, the KMT’s old approach does not meet Taiwanese interests and expectations, she said.
Meanwhile, MOFA yesterday also remained tight-lipped on the government’s UN bid this year, except to say details would be given on Friday.
“All the details will be revealed on Friday by Deputy Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言),” MOFA Spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said, but disclosed that the language would not include the verbs “join” or “return.”
“This year’s approach will be based on pragmatism and flexibility,” he said.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang and Jenny W. Hsu
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