Sun, Jan 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Cooperation can move nations forward

Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika, the first head of state and diplomatic ally to visit this year, on Friday concluded his five-day visit to Taiwan. During his stay, the president sat down with `Taipei Times' staff reporter Huang Tai-lin to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries and the reasons why Malawi backs Taiwan's bid to participate in the United Nations and the World Health Organization

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Taipei Times: What are the major bilateral cooperation projects you discussed with Taiwanese officials during the visit?

Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika: The relationship between Taiwan and Malawi has been long-standing, and this time we have established bilateral cooperation agreements. One of the reasons when I came here was to approve these bilateral pacts, the details of which [were] announced [in a joint communique with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Friday]. But for the time being, I would say yes, we have conception and discussions about bilateral cooperation between our two countries.

TT: How do you think these bilateral agreements might help develop Malawi?

Mutharika: In these projects, we look to Taiwan to provide us with technology in a number of areas, in industry, in telecommunications as well as cooperation in developing manpower for industrial development. So, we certainly are looking forward to assistance in these areas.

TT: China does all it can snatch away Taiwan's diplomatic allies. Are you concerned that Taiwan's allies are tempted to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing as China's economy expands?

Mutharika: I believe myself that the contribution that Taiwan is making to global investment development, to global trade and training workers in developing countries -- that's evidence of success ... for Taiwan. Some countries might decide to cooperate and be friends with China, and like us, might decide to cooperate and be allied with Taiwan. These are choices of individual sovereign governments based on their sovereignty.

That's one way Taiwan should build and publicize its activities. Taiwan often participates in global relief work, like dealing with SARS, but perhaps the rest of the world does not know much about [Taiwan's work].

I think it should be in the interest of Taiwan to publicize and televise these activities and let others know -- because that's how the rest of world finds out -- from CNN, from the BBC, from the Voice of America and all other [media outlets]. I think Taiwan has to be active in global networks, so that the rest of the world knows how Taiwan and its people are contributing to global development. This must be kept consistent, and that's what will make countries aware of what Taiwan is doing and realize it is a nation contributing to the world. Not that Taiwan is not [publicizing their activities], but I think it should do it more.

TT: You pledged to continue supporting Taiwan's bids to enter the WHO and UN. Can you state the reasons why you believe Taiwan should be admitted to these world bodies?

Mutharika: I have given my support for Taiwan's [bid] for more than 10 years when I campaigned for Taiwan to join general agreements in free trade and the WTO, and I am glad that Taiwan is now a member of the WTO.

I believe that Taiwan should also be admitted as an observer of the WHO, and a member -- or at least as an observer -- to the United Nations. The reason, first of all, is that Taiwan is an industrialized country and makes many contributions to global trade. And within the context to globalization, it means that everyone is included and no one is excluded.

Taiwan also makes contributions in the field of science and technology. Its contribution in number of areas can offer help to many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Taiwan has made a breakthrough in the telecommunications industry. That's also the area where it is making contributions globally.

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