Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Ma hopes to visit Marshall Islands in the near future

By Ko Shu-ling and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he hoped to visit the Marshall Islands soon and see the South Pacific ally continue to support the country’s efforts to participate in international activities such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ma said that during his stint as Taipei mayor, Taipei and Majuro became sister cities but unfortunately he did not have an opportunity to visit the Marshall Islands at that time.

“I hope I will have the opportunity to visit this beautiful country in the future,” he said while meeting the Marshall Islands’ new parliament speaker, Alvin Jacklick, at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.

Ma thanked former Marshall Islands president Litokwa Tomeing and current President Jurelang Zedkaia for their support for the nation’s bids to participate in international organizations and activities, including the UNFCCC.

Although Taiwan is participating in this year’s Copenhagen talks as a non-governmental organization, Ma said he hoped “there will be more opportunities to participate in future meetings” so the country can obtain more information and share its “expertise” on combating problems caused by global warming with “innovative” measures.

As the Marshall Islands consists of two archipelagoes and is only 1m above sea level, Ma said it was very concerned about global warming.

“If global temperatures continue to rise and cause the ice caps to melt, the Marshall Islands will be among the countries to bear the brunt of rising sea levels,” he said. “Taiwan has the same problem too.”

Ma said he hoped both countries could begin dialogue and share experiences. He also hoped the Marshall Islands would continue to support the country’s efforts to participate in the UNFCCC, as both countries value freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

In related developments, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) will attend the UN Climate Change Conference’s World Mayors Council in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday to present a report on the city’s achievements in energy conservation and carbon reduction.

Taipei Deputy Secretariat Chen Yung-ren (陳永仁) will lead a delegation to the council as a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and present the report on efforts to cut back on electricity use, among other measures.

The ICLEI has more than 1,100 member cities worldwide. Taipei is one of 80 cities invited to attend the mayors’ council, the city government said.

Hau yesterday signed the World Mayors’ and Local Governments’ Climate Protection Agreement at the Taipei City Hall and pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions to 60 percent by 2050.

The two-week Copenhagen talks, the climax of two years of contentious negotiations, convened in an upbeat mood on Monday after a series of promises by rich and emerging economies to curb their greenhouse gases, but with major issues yet to be resolved.

The first week of the conference will focus on refining the complex text of a draft treaty. But major decisions will await the arrival next week of environment ministers and the heads of state in the final days of the conference.

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