Tue, Nov 27, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan wants PRC nominee to WTO to vow fair treatment

DECLARATION Shieh Jhy-wey said Taipei would drop its objection if the Chinese judge issued a statement of impartiality endorsed by the WTO

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan will continue to object to the appointment of a Chinese judge to the WTO's top legal panel unless the judge makes a clear statement assuring fair treatment and that statement is recognized by the world trade body, government spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday.

"Provided Zhang Yuejiao [張月姣] makes a clear statement that she will rule in line with WTO regulations rather than directives given to her by the Chinese Communist Party [CCP], we will relax our opposition to her appointment," Shieh said.

Asked by the Taipei Times in a telephone interview about the government's bottom line on the issue, Shieh said: "[Taiwan] isn't demanding too much [by asking for such a statement]."

Taiwan last Monday blocked an entire meeting of the WTO where it would have approved the nomination of four new members, including Zhang, a Beijing attorney, as judges on the seven-member Appellate Body, which has a final say in the world body's dispute settlement system.

The move has become an issue within the WTO.

A report by Agence-France Presse last Friday quoted Bruce Gosper, chairman of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, as saying: "I'm extremely concerned that if the situation persists much longer, we will have a crisis in this organization."

On Sunday, Shieh told the Associated Press that the Taipei government would back away from its opposition if it was assured of the impartiality of the Chinese judge.

Shieh said yesterday that the assurance from Zhang should be presented in the form of a "clear statement" that should also be recognized by the WTO.

"With a statement ensuring that Zhang treats Taiwan equally and without discrimination, we will alter our attitude toward her," Shieh said.

Zhang would have been the first Chinese judge in the institution if her nomination was confirmed.

Shieh defended the government's stance on the issue because of the "abnormal" relationship between China's judicial system and the Chinese regime.

"In China, the judicial system always acts upon whatever the CCP says," he said.

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