Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Wang advises caution on a UN bid using `Taiwan'

SENSITIVE ISSUE The legislative speaker said the government should solicit opinions from other countries, and not just consider domestic opinion

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng chat yesterday during a ceremony at the Presidential Office marking the first anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Pacific Union. The Union was founded in August 2005 to honor the democratic achievements of countries in the Pacific region.


Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday was cautious in his response to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) call to join the UN under the name "Taiwan."

"It is a tough question to answer," Wang said. "Our society is deeply divided over such a politically sensitive issue as independence versus unification. While the nation's best interest should be upheld, we should be careful in the approach we take to obtain international recognition such as joining the UN. It is also important to solicit opinions from other countries before we take any action."

Wang made the remarks at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon in response to media inquiry about Chen's recent remark that the country should consider trying to join the UN under the name "Taiwan."

Wang was at the Presidential Office to attend the celebration of the first anniversary of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU), which was founded by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Lu yesterday said that some of the president's friends had "strongly recommended" to him that the country should use the name "Taiwan" to gain accession to UN.

"However, as the UN General Assembly is about to begin, I'm afraid the odds of success this year are pretty slim," she said. "It remains to be seen whether the new approach will work in the future."

The nation last Friday launched its 14th consecutive bid for UN entry as the 61st UN General Assembly prepares to convene on Sept. 12. All of the nation's previous attempts have failed because of China's obstruction.

While Beijing has interpreted Lu's diplomatic effort as attempts to promote Taiwan's independence, Lu dismissed the concern and said that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state.

"With or without international recognition, we have our own territory, people, government and Constitution," she said. "If such a remark is considered promotion of Taiwan's independence, I'd like to say it out loud that, yes, Taiwan, the Republic of China, is indeed an independent sovereignty."

Because Chen is facing mounting pressure calling for his resignation, media attention focused closely on the interaction between Chen, Lu and Wang.

Speculation has been mounting that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was in favor of Lu taking over if Chen resigned. Lee, however, denied such rumors.

Chen declined to speak at yesterday's event and left before the question-and-answer session. The media, however, took every opportunity to snap pictures every time he talked to Lu or Wang.

Before Chen's departure, Lu seized the chance to compliment Chen, saying that he was the "invisible hand" behind the establishment of the DPU.

"If the DPU is the cradle of `soft power' as I have advocated, our dear President Chen is the one who rocks the cradle," Lu said.

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