Thu, Jan 16, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Chinese moves to obstruct NGOs are wrong, says MOFA

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday condemned China's moves to hinder Taiwan NGOs' involvement in international conferences, saying that Chinese wrecking tactics would only increase resentment toward the communist country.

"Communist China's unreasonable moves to obstruct Taiwanese NGOs from attending global meetings is a violation of Taiwanese rights to participate in global affairs," the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

"Such acts by China highlighted its disrespect and animosity toward Taiwan and [as a result] will only further Taiwanese distrust and resentment toward the country," the statement added.

The ministry's condemnation came after China tried to block Taiwanese NGOs from taking part in an international conference held in Tokyo earlier this week.

Because of protests from China, six Taiwanese NGO groups were barred from participating in the Asian regional meeting, which ended yesterday. The meeting was a preparatory discussion to hammer out a regional agreement to submit to the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, planned for December in Geneva.

According to international news agency reports, talks on Tuesday were delayed for five hours and resumed in the afternoon after a backroom compromise reached between the Japanese organizers and the delegates from China, who said Taiwanese participation was an affront to its "one-China policy."

The point was driven home during the morning, when a Chinese foreign ministry official repeatedly banged the table with his nameplate sign, demanding that all talks should stop. Several hours later, the Japanese chairman of the conference announced that Taiwanese NGOs were no longer allowed to take part in the conference.

The six NGO groups issued a statement criticizing attempts to exclude them.

"We are not affiliated to any political party or position nor have we come here with a hidden agenda," read the joint statement issued by the six NGO groups. "We have come to engage in a constructive dialogue with other stakeholders in Asia ... to build a collective vision for the future of the information society."

"Taiwan is a leading player in communication technology and can not afford to be absent from the global dialogue on the future of the information society," said the statement.

In the statement, the six NGOs called on the delegates at the World Summit on the Information Society Asian Regional Conference to recognize the need to peacefully resolve the Taiwan issue to encourage Taiwan's participation in the conference.

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