Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Braving a storm to cross the new Strait

Annette Lu astonished many people with her stubborn suggestion that residents in mountainous areas -- mostly Aborigines -- emigrate to Central America to allow ``overdeveloped'' land to recover. But these comments were part of a greater agenda of Pacific Rim diplomacy which has received less publicity. Lu talked with 'Taipei Times' staff reporters Lin Chieh-yu and Huang Tai-lin about the Democratic Pacific Union, floating universities and using the Pacific to forge ``cross-strait'' relationships"


Vice President Annette Lu says that Central America offers Taiwan a chance to defy its diplomatic isolation.


Taipei Times: How is the proposed Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) different to other international organizations?

Annette Lu (呂秀蓮): The UN was established in 1945 and is an organization with a structure based on government-to-government relations. It therefore has greater financial resources, so the contributions required from its members are larger. It is known that the UN has been in financial debt for some time now. On political issues and the like, it has definite and specific capabilities and functions, although there also exist issues of parity between small and big countries. It has the Security Council which holds a veto power, and this violates principles of fairness and equality.

So personally I think a contradiction exists in terms of its mechanisms. Having said that, all in all we do recognize the functions of the UN.

As for the DPU, there are requirements to become a member. First of all, a member must be a country on the Pacific Rim. So far we have not rushed to include Europe and Africa, instead focusing primarily on countries situated around or across the Pacific. This is a rather new way of looking at things, for in the past the development of civilizations has mostly focused on terrestrial development. So, here we are, using the ocean as our base of operations and that is why the DPU is different.

We don't have diplomatic relations with many countries, so before we can win more diplomatic allies, we have to hold these events in the mode of a non-governmental organization.

That said, our intention at this time is to use the name of our country as part of the DPU. And the DPU member nations would have three representatives: one each from the governmental, academic and industrial sectors.

Given the organization's vast scope, another important element is to separate it into three districts. The East Pacific is the American region, the West Pacific refers to the Asian region and the South Pacific includes New Zealand and Australia. I believe that the DPU can be established within two years.

But give me 10 years. After that I believe it will be interesting to see how the DPU will have turned out.

projecting strength

TT: What do you wish to achieve with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in your diplomatic work?

Lu: The DPU is a mechanism which we hope to operate not only as a diplomatic tool but also to project Taiwan's national strength, authority and prestige.

Our key diplomatic area is in Central America. Through the DPU we wish to extend Taiwan's mode of development abroad.

We will in the near future join hands with Central American nations on numerous joint ventures. Among the projects that have been proposed are international marketing in the fields of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and animal husbandry. We think it is feasible to join hands with our allies in these fields -- all the way from production to marketing. As long as they provide land and labor, we can provide technical assistance and personnel and train their people.

We should establish a government-to-government mechanism of cooperation to safeguard and encourage our people who are interested in going abroad to take part in this endeavor. There are two means -- investing capital or forming contracts -- by which they can contribute their expertise in their specific fields.

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