Sat, Sep 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Foreign ministry hails UN support from US and EU

‘MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION’ The US said it strongly favored membership in world bodies that don’t require statehood, while the EU also acknowledged Taiwan’s bid

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed the responses the US and EU made after Taiwan’s latest UN bid and said the public could expect more countries to follow suit by expressing their support in different ways.

In a statement posted on the official Web site of the US Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, the US reiterated its long-standing support for Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in UN agencies such as the WHO, saying “Taiwan’s inclusion would enable the international community to better address pressing global issues.”

In line with the US’ “one China” policy, the statement said: “The US supports Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite, including in the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.”

“When membership is not possible, we are strongly in favor of arrangements that will allow the people of Taiwan to participate meaningfully in the activities of international organizations. We do not support membership for Taiwan in organizations that require statehood such as the UN,” it said.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Hsia (夏立言) welcomed the US’ positive response.

The US statement was posted hours after the UN’s General Committee on Wednesday rejected a proposal to include Taiwan’s bid in the 63rd General Assembly agenda.

This year marks Taiwan’s 16th consecutive failure in its quest for UN representation since the China seat was taken over by the People’s Republic of China in 1971.

The US and the EU strongly disapproved of Taiwan’s bid for full UN membership last year, calling it “provocative and unnecessary.”

Taiwan this year sought nothing more than “meaningful participation” in the activities of the 16 auxiliaries of the UN.

Hsia said this was the first time that the US Permanent Mission to the UN has posted such a response on its Web site, although many major countries have expressed the same sentiment in private.

On the issue of the WHO, the US repeated the position it has taken since 2004 that it strongly supports Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Assembly.

Meanwhile, the EU last night made a similar statement in support of Taiwan’s UN bid, hailing warming cross-strait relations and reiterating its “one China” policy.

The statement, issued by the Presidency of the EU Council, which is presided over by France at the moment, acknowledged Taiwan’s bid and said the EU “reiterates its support to Taiwan’s participation in specialized multilateral fora, especially where Taiwan’s participation is important to the EU and global interests, and it encourages both sides [Taiwan and China] to resolve this issue through dialog.”

“The EU especially hopes that concrete steps could be taken, through dialog between both sides [Taiwan and China], in order to enable the meaningful participation of the people in Taiwan in the implementation of the International Health Regulations,” it said.

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