Wed, Nov 21, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan allies at the EU call for greater support

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian, right, meets Graham Watson, a member of the European Parliament, at the presidential palace yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

A staunch supporter of Taiwan in the European Parliament yesterday called on the EU to confirm its recognition of Taiwan, saying EU foreign ministers should together send out a message that recognizes the country's existence.

"One of the things I will be doing on my return is pressing Javier Solana, the foreign affairs spokesman for the EU, to align his position with the position taken by the United States of America and Japan, regarding the way in which [Taiwan's] application [to join the UN] was returned by [Ban Ki-moon] the secretary-general of the UN," Graham Watson told reporters yesterday.

Arguing against Ban's stance on Taiwan's sovereignty, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe said "there is a legitimate issue here [on Taiwan]."

The UN Secretariat turned down President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) application for Taiwan to be admitted to the international body, which he made in a July letter to Ban.

Ban cited UN Resolution 2758 as "clearly mentioning that the government of China is the sole and legitimate government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China" to defend his rejection of the application.

The US and Japan say the interpretation is wrong.

"It seems to me that the European Union should be able to at least recognize what the Americans and Japanese recognized," Watson said.

Watson said that in a few weeks an advertisement signed by members of the European Parliament and by all political parties would be published in major newspapers in Brussels to support Taiwan's bid for UN membership.

Last month, 84 parliamentarians issued a joint statement expressing their support for Taiwan's bid to join the UN.

Watson said the parliament might not pass a resolution in support of Taiwan's UN proposal, as "we adopt resolutions on relations with China or relations with Taiwan every four or five years, in response to position papers by the European Commission."

But he said that a desire expressed recently for "greater recognition of Taiwan by the EU" would be reiterated in the next resolution on relations with Taiwan.

Addressing the "one China policy" adopted by the EU, Watson called it a "misnomer" because "some of us don't regard Taiwan as being part of China."

Watson is leading a seven-member delegation on a three-day visit to Taiwan.

The delegation is scheduled to meet Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Minister of Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) and Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝).

Chen yesterday conferred on Watson the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon in honor of his great contributions to Taiwan.

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