Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Berlin restates its support for Taiwan’s global role

VALUABLE PLAYER:The German Institute Taipei director said Taiwan’s participation in the global arena must not be hindered out of ideological motives and political ill will

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

German Institute Taipei Director-General Martin Eberts, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu hold up a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the area of emissions trading in Taipei on Friday.

Screengrab from the German Institute’s Facebook account

German Institute Taipei Director-General Martin Eberts has again lent support to Taiwan’s bid for international participation, saying that such efforts should not be hindered due to ideological motives.

Eberts, who has since August 2014 served as Germany’s de facto ambassador to Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, made the remarks at a ceremony in Taipei on Friday to exchange documents with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pertaining to a bilateral agreement on Taiwan-Germany cooperation in the area of emissions trading.

The agreement — which aims for bilateral exchange on all aspects of emissions trading, including monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions — took effect after it was signed by Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) in Berlin on April 4 and by Eberts in Taipei on Monday last week.

In a statement posted on Facebook yesterday, the institute quoted Eberts as saying at the ceremony that Taiwan’s participation in the international arena is highly appreciated by Germany and that it “must not be hindered or impeded out of ideological motives and political ill will.”

Describing Taiwan as a valuable player in international climate protection efforts, international health policies and other fields of multilateral cooperation, Eberts said Taipei should be able to continue playing the role and contribute even more.

“It is in this spirit that we have concluded our agreement,” Eberts said.

It is the second time in a week that Eberts has spoken out in support of Taiwan’s international participation, after he expressed the hope on the sidelines of an energy transition forum in Taipei on Thursday last week that Taiwan would not suffer from international isolation due to bullying.

Eberts’ remarks came as the nation still awaits an invitation to this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), which is to be held from May 21 to May 26 in Geneva, Switzerland, and whose registration deadline is tomorrow.

Taiwan first participated in the WHA as an observer in 2009, one year after then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office and his administration pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.

The nation was until last year invited to the annual meeting as an observer, when it failed to receive an invitation due to Chinese pressure.

The last invitation was received only days before President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office on May 20, 2016, and came with an unprecedented mention of Beijing’s “one China” principle.

Despite the nation not having received an invitation this year, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) is to lead a delegation to Geneva to meet with medical industry professionals from around the world, and keep in touch with the nation’s allies to encourage more proactive support for Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHA as an observer.

Some nations that do not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, such as the US, have also promised to express support for the nation’s participation as an observer during the sessions, sources said, adding that support on the issue is even greater than it was last year.

Taiwan’s representative office in Geneva is to hold an informal foreign affairs gathering on the evening before the WHA commences, and ranking officials from several nations are expected to attend, the sources said.

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