Tue, Sep 03, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Parties across the board back Taiwan office in Mongolia

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Politicians across party lines yesterday threw their support behind the government's announcement that it had opened a representative office in Mongolia, describing it as a policy in line with international reality.

While most expressed approval, the TSU will be the first to take action to endorse the government's decision, as several TSU legislators are set to visit the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, next week.

The delegation led by TSU Legislator Su Ying-kwei (蘇盈貴) is slated to meet with Mongolian congressmen to discuss the possibility of signing a Free Trade Agreement and to promote diplomatic recognition between the two nations. They will also invite Mongolian congressmen to visit Taiwan.

TSU lawmakers told the media of their plans yesterday after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' declaration that Taiwan had set up a trade and economic representative office in Ulan Bator and that Mongolia would be establishing one in Taipei.

TSU lawmakers will depart for Moscow tomorrow. The delegation will then break into two groups on Sunday, with one group visiting Minsk, the capital of Belarus, while the other travels to Ulan Bator -- a decision made immediately after the government's announcement.

"It is definitely a diplomatic breakthrough for Taiwan. The establishment of the office [in Ulan Bator] indicates that Taiwan's fostering ties with Mongolia is not influenced by China's intervention," said Lee Shang-ren (李先仁), the director of TSU's policy center.

"We recognize Mongolian independence status, just like how we support Taiwan's independent sovereignty," Lee said.

Sharing the TSU's viewpoint, DPP officials said that the government is finally willing to face the reality that Mongolia is an independent country.

"China has long recognized Mongolia's independent status and Mongolia also has a seat at the UN. Taiwan's establishment of a representative office [in Mongolia] is a move corresponding with international practice and reality," said the director of the DPP's international affairs department, Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴).

Although the KMT long regarded Mongolia as part of ROC territory, refusing to concede its independence, KMT legislative leader Lee Chuan-chia (李全教) yesterday gave his thumbs up to the foreign ministry's news.

He said despite the complex historic relationship between the ROC and Mongolia, the KMT considers it commendable any time the government can increase its offices overseas, in view of Taiwan's dwindling international space.

PFP Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) cautioned the government not to politicize the issue.

He said Taiwan should view the issue more from an angle of strengthening trade and cultural ties, rather than considering it a political matter.

He stated that he hoped China would not overreact to the issue and also said Taiwan shouldn't provoke China on the matter.

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