Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers slam Beijing's WTO moves

VOICING DISPLEASURE DPP and PFP lawmakers said China's attempts to downgrade the status of Taiwan's WTO mission damaged cross-strait ties

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday condemned China for attempting to change the name of the Taiwan's delegation at the WTO.

DPP caucus whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that Beijing's attempts to downgrade Taiwan's permanent mission to an economic and trade office, the same status as Hong Kong, was unacceptable.

Taiwan entered the WTO using a different procedure from that of Hong Kong and Macau, Chen said.

Taiwan applied to join the WTO under the name "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu" in January last year after 12 years of bilateral negotiations.

Chen said that the WTO had provided the country with an excellent opportunity to interact with other nations and develop substantial bilateral and multilateral relations.

If the country's delegation was downgraded to an economic and trade office, then the delegates could not talk about substantial bilateral affairs outside the framework of the WTO with other nations in Geneva.

Beijing has consistently tried to squeeze Taiwan internationally, Chen said, an injustice for which China would eventually pay.

PFP caucus whip Chiu Yi (邱毅) said Beijing's belligerent efforts to sideline Taiwan in the international community had merely served to further alienate the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and hurt the feelings of the people of Taiwan.

Chiu said that it was wishful thinking on Beijing's part to anticipate unifying with Taiwan while showing no goodwill.

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said China was being ridiculous if it thought it could use its political influence to change the title of Taiwan's mission at the WTO. The world trade regulatory body is apolitical, Liu said.

Beijing has continued to offend the people of Taiwan even after its people transmitted SARS to Taiwan, Liu said.

Liu, however, criticized the government's ability to handle diplomatic crises, rating the performance of the nation's diplomatic agencies as less that 60 out of 100.

TSU party whip Chien Lin Hui-chun (錢林慧君) said that all parties should support passage of the referendum bill so that the people of Taiwan could counteract China's suppression and belligerence by saying "no" together.

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