Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MOFA to shift gear on UN bid: source

BEIJING PERMITTINGAn unnamed official said that the government would likely try to repeat the WHA model in seeking participation at UN specialized agencies

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan will redouble efforts to take part in UN activities and join UN agencies in meaningful fashion rather than renew its campaign for direct participation in the UN, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

A ministry official told Central News Agency that while the ministry could ask Taiwan’s diplomatic allies — as it did last year — to submit a proposal to the UN Secretariat calling for reconsideration of Taiwan’s bid to participate in UN agencies, it was considering a different approach.

“Taiwan could also choose to be more realistic and not submit a UN proposal at all this year,” said the official, who declined to be named.

“While it would be easier to continue the efforts made in previous years, it is unrealistic to try to force our way into the UN, which politically is a highly sensitive matter,” the official said.

Instead, this year the ministry would seek to gain a foothold in one or two UN agencies using the pragmatic approach that enabled Taiwan to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva last month, the official said.

After 12 failed attempts, Taiwan was invited to attend this year’s WHA as an observer under the designation “Chinese Taipei.”

While the government said the invitation was the result of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policy of engaging China, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) criticized it for accepting the invitation.

The DPP said Taiwan’s sovereignty was compromised after a memorandum of understanding between the WHO and Beijing stipulated that communication between the WHO and Taiwan could only take place with Beijing’s consent.

The official said the Ma government “will work out a solid action plan to seek international support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in UN activities.”

“Of course, that is assuming that China does not oppose such efforts,” the official said.

The priority is to seek entry into the UN’s 15 agencies, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which develops international standards for aviation safety, and the International Marine Organization (IMO), which deals with shipping safety and cleaner oceans, the official said.

Because of Taiwan’s absence from the ICAO, for example, there is gap in the global aviation safety network because the Taipei Flight Information Region, located in the center of Southeast Asia, covers an airspace of 176,000 square nautical miles (603,663km²) in which 12 international and four domestic air routes operate, the official said.

As for the IMO, the official said that although Taiwan ranks No. 10 globally in terms of ocean navigation capability, it has no access to first-hand navigation information and seamen identification issued in Taiwan is often questioned around the world because Taiwan is not an IMO member.

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