Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said yesterday that Taiwan would no longer apply to participate in the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) because the nation is not being treated with dignity and equality.
“The matter will be left for the new administration to decide,” Chang said in a telephone interview with reporters, referring to the administration of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), which is to take office on May 20.
Chang said the ministry sent a letter to the Interim Secretariat for Establishing the AIIB in March last year expressing Taiwan’s wish to become a founding member of the bank, but the bid was rejected.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) later said several times that China welcomed Taiwan’s participation in the AIIB under an appropriate name, but he never specified what Beijing considered “appropriate.”
After the AIIB was formally inaugurated in January, Chang sent a congratulatory message to AIIB president Jin Liqun (金立群) and asked whether Taiwan needed to apply again, but he received no response.
Since Tsai was elected on Jan. 16, Jin has repeatedly described Taiwan’s AIIB bid as a “family matter” and has insisted that Taiwan is not a sovereign state, so should follow the Hong Kong model and ask the Chinese Ministry of Finance to apply for Taiwan’s membership on its behalf in accordance with the AIIB charter.
“We cannot accept such a model,” Chang said, adding that the ministry would no longer apply for membership because Taiwan cannot join the AIIB under conditions of dignity and equality.
However, this does not mean the “end of the AIIB bid,” which hinges on the attitude of China going forward, he said.
Asked if Jin’s attitude was related to the Democratic Progressive Party winning power in Taiwan, Chang did not comment, but he stressed that Taiwan would not accept participation in the AIIB based on the Hong Kong model.
A Ministry of Finance official yesterday said that Taiwan’s bottom line is to join the AIIB under the name “Chinese Taipei” — under the terms of a bipartisan agreement reached last year — and Jin’s demand that the nation musty apply through the Chinese Ministry of Finance had hurt Taiwan’s dignity.
However, the official also said that if China was willing to let Taiwan apply to join in its capacity as an Asian Development Bank member, then it would be able to discuss the possibility of joining the bank.
“The designation is important. We cannot be denigrated,” the official said.
Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER, 中華經濟研究) president Wu Chung-shu (吳中書) said AIIB membership is intended to expand investment channels for local firms, but must not be used to downgrade the nation’s sovereignty.
There is still room for cooperation if the two sides can work out differences over AIIB accession requirements, Wu said.
Richard Watanabe (吳偉臺), financial service leader at PricewaterhoueCoopers Taiwan, said AIIB membership has little bearing on Taiwan, as local firms are not ready for international construction projects.
Additional reporting by Crystal Hsu
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the
‘FIGHT FOR VICTORY’: Eric Chu said his election victory would be the beginning of the DPP’s worries and that he would open all channels of communication with China Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) was yesterday elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman in a four-way race that included outgoing chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). Chu, 60, garnered 85,164 votes, or 45 percent of the 187,998 KMT members who cast ballots. Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) trailed behind with 60,632 votes, followed by Chiang with 35,090 votes and former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) with 5,133 votes. Voter turnout was 50.71 percent. This will be Chu’s second time heading the party. He was elected KMT chairman in an unopposed by-election in January 2015 and resigned in January