Taiwan should negotiate with China to lift a ban on the employment of Republic of China (ROC) nationals at UN-affiliated agencies since relations between the two sides have improved recently, former director of the American Institute in Taiwan Douglas Paal said on Wednesday.
The People’s Republic of China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that barred the agencies from hiring people from Taiwan after it joined the UN in 1971 by replacing the ROC, said Paal, who was AIT director in Taipei until 2006.
“Why should that be the case now?” he asked, referring to the 39-year-old ban in an interview with the Central News Agency during a visit to Taipei.
Taiwan signed a pact with China in June this year to further -liberalize two-way trade and has opened itself to more tourists from China. Nevertheless, it remains difficult for Taiwan to take part in UN--related activities because of Beijing’s obstruction.
Paal, who is now vice president for studies at the -Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggested Taiwan should try to have the ban removed.
“I am not asking for Taiwan to be officially represented,” he said. “But Taiwan has lots of good people.”
Taiwanese people should be allowed to compete for jobs at the IMF, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Energy Agency, the WHO and others, he said.
“Put people forward and have the SEF negotiate with China, getting rid of these MOUs,” he said, referring to Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation, a semi-official body charged with handling daily affairs with China. “Make a clear understanding [with China]: ‘This will not be our effort to represent ourselves, but we think we can play a role.’”
With time, he said, Taiwan would become an “indispensable” part of the world that way.