Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Beijing adjustments trickle to diplomatic staff: Yang

PATIENTLY WAITING The minister of foreign affairs said that changes in the thinking of China’s leadership could take some time before it reaches overseas staff

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

If China wants bilateral relations to thrive, it should not overlook the fact that Taiwanese expect international participation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said yesterday.

Speaking in an interview with the Central News Agency, Yang, a career diplomat who assumed the post early this month as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, said President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “modus vivendi” policy has aimed to turn around diplomatic relations.

“The modus vivendi policy has allowed us to rebuild trust and strengthen interaction with our friends,” Yang said, referring to improved relations with Taiwan’s major trade partners, including the US, following a thaw in once strained ties with China.

But China’s attitude has been slow to change, Yang said, citing an incident earlier this year during his tenure as the nation’s representative to Indonesia.

At a public event, Yang was not allowed to sit in a section reserved for members of the diplomatic corps because of a protest from China’s ambassador to Jakarta. Yang said this showed that it could take time for China’s diplomatic personnel in the field to adjust their conservative traditions and mindset.

“The change in the Beijing leadership’s way of thinking probably has not been fully conveyed to its overseas diplomatic staff,” Yang said. “We need to patiently wait for this adjustment.”

He also reminded Chinese leaders that if Beijing wants Taiwanese affection for China to grow, it should not disregard their desire for participation in international activities.

“If Beijing fails to make the necessary adjustments, cross-strait rapprochement could be limited,” Yang said.

To emphasize the importance of professionalism in diplomacy, Yang said Taiwan cannot afford to address issues simply from its own perspective, but should instead look at Taiwan’s issues from a global perspective.

Yang said he believes the government should factor in the general international perception of Taiwan rather than just focus on the country’s own stance so it can formulate balanced and feasible diplomatic policies and working strategies.

On the topic of diplomatic allies developing trade and ­economic ties with China, Yang said the government would not oppose such activities.

However, it is another story if allies intend to exchange representative offices with China, he said, adding that the government would prudently deal with such issues.

“We will let our diplomatic allies understand that our modus vivendi policy is based on pragmatism and we will not pursue it at the expense of bilateral ties,” Yang said.

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