The government will not apply for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) if Beijing insists that Taiwan is subject to an article relating to applicants without sovereignty or rights to exercise external relations, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a statement yesterday after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voiced concerns about a membership bid.
Without naming the DPP, the council said that those who allege the government would compromise the nation’s sovereignty to apply to join the AIIB by going through China have denigrated themselves.
DPP officials earlier in the day had told a news conference in Taipei — held one day after 50 of the AIIB’s 57 founding members signed the bank’s articles of agreement in a ceremony in Beijing — that the government should report to the legislature before it files an application to join the bank.
The DPP and others have voiced concerns that the government’s plan to submit a membership application would have to go through China to the organization’s secretariat in Beijing.
“There is no room for compromise or negotiation when it comes to sovereignty. The government should be subject to legislative supervision in its handling of the application,” DPP spokesperson Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄) told the news conference.
Relevant government units should conduct a thorough evaluation of an application bid and present it to the legislature for deliberation, Juan said.
Section 3 of Article 3 of the agreement was designed to apply to Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong and Macau, Juan said.
A copy of the articles posted on the bank’s Web site shows that the paragraph was “phrased with clear intent to denigrate the status of Taiwan,” he said.
The clause at issue reads: “In the case of an applicant which is not sovereign or not responsible for the conduct of its international relations, application for membership in the Bank shall be presented or agreed by the member of the Bank responsible for its international relations.”
However, the council said critics have “wrongly applied the article” and it was a “manifestation of self-denigration” to place Taiwan in the category covered by the clause, it said.
“The Republic of China [ROC] is a sovereign nation and there is no way that we would accept the application of Section 3 of Article 3 to our case,” the council said.
“We stand firm on the position that we would not join the AIIB if the application is to be processed in accordance with the article,” it said.
The council said that the government would file an application “in its capacity as a member of the Asian Development Bank” (ADB), but would not accept the designation “Taipei,China” — which it has been forced to use in the ADB since 1986. (Editor’s note: The government insisted on “Taipei,China” without a space between the two words to indicate its displeasure with the name change.)
The ROC was a founding member of the ADB, which was established in 1966.
Its designation was changed in 1986 when China was admitted to the Manila-based organization. After two years of boycotting the ADB’s annual meeting, Taiwan resumed participation in 1988, but the nation’s delegation has continued to make known that the unilateral alteration of its membership designation was “under protest.”
Asked if the reason the council would apply for AIIB membership “in the capacity of an ADB member,” instead of as a nation using the name “Chinese Taipei” (the government’s bottom line in terms of designation), was that it would allow Taipei and Beijing to have their own respective interpretations of whether the application would be subject to Section 3 of Article 3, the council did not respond.
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