Mon, Dec 01, 2008 - Page 3 News List

International groups must let Taiwan in, ex-UN official says

PUT PEACE FIRST Citing the Korean experience, Lee Samuel said that any efforts to find solutions through peaceful means should be encouraged


A visiting former UN commission head said Taiwan should be allowed to take part in international organizations for the sake of peace and prosperity in East Asia.

“Taiwan should be given the opportunity to relate to other members in international agencies,” if the world expects lasting peace in the region, Lee Samuel, former secretary-general of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, said in an interview with the Central News Agency on Saturday.

With the Taiwan Strait long considered a flashpoint in the region, the issue has to be dealt with if countries in the region intend to establish a peaceful grouping similar to the EU, he said.

He said, however, that “peace is more important” than any potential agreement on Taiwan’s status between the two sides of the Strait. The most important thing is for divided countries to develop a way to coexist with each other through dialogue and cooperation, he said.

Citing the Korean experience, he said that any efforts to find solutions through peaceful means should be recognized as positive and that governments in disputes have to venture, once there is a chance of securing peaceful results.

However, the process of external negotiations should be based on internal consensus obtained by means of adequate communication, he said, or “peaceful talks with an outside enemy can also produce inside enemies.”

In the 1960s, Lee was exiled from South Korea because of his participation in the April Student Revolution, which eventually brought down then-president Syngman Rhee. When Lee returned to his homeland some 20 years later, he became involved in civil movements and advocated unification of the Koreas.

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