President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should order a full inventory of all actions affecting Taiwan in the international community to prevent ripple effects in the wake of the recent revelation that the WHO refers to Taiwan as “a province of China,” former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said.
An internal WHO memo obtained by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) earlier this week showed that WHO agencies have been instructed to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China.” The confidential memo was sent on Sept. 14 last year by WHO -Secretary-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍).
In a recent interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), Lu said that although there were situations encountered by the former DPP administration in which it had no choice but to accept the name “Chinese Taipei,” Lu said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government should not be complacent and accept that “Chinese Taipei is good enough.”
Saying that diplomacy should be taken beyond the level of partisan bickering because Beijing is the common “enemy” of the country, Lu said China would be very happy if it knew that every time it bullied Taiwan it would cause internal strife.
That said, however, Lu, in light of the recent WHO furor, criticized the Ma administration as inept in diplomacy.
Lu alleged that the Ma administration had purposefully sat on the issue and did not disclose it to the public. It was not until the memo was exposed that the Ma administration began to take action, Lu said.
Lu said that instead of trying to hold the Ma administration accountable over the issue, she felt that the core of the problem was the attitude taken toward the WHO issue.
Lu said that if Ma had only realized the issue’s importance after the DPP’s inquiries, “then who [among Ma’s subordinates] are deceiving him?”
In that case, it would be the Ma administration that was incompetent, she said.
If it were an intentional concealment of the truth on Ma’s part, then it would be even more despicable, Lu said, suggesting that in that case, it would mean that Ma felt the memo was acceptable and would not have paid any attention to it if it were not for the coming presidential and legislative elections.
Lu said that on March 29 , 2007, she received word from Taiwan’s “push to join a UN task force” based in New York that Taiwan had via the Republic of Nauru’s UN Ambassador applied to take part in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
In response to Taiwan’s application, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that owing to the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 passed in 1971, the UN recognized Taiwan as a part of China and that the UN secretary-general was unable to accept any applications to join international bodies under the name of the Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan.
Lu said that when she was made aware of the situation in June that same year, she immediately notified then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to rectify the issue.
According to Lu, after discussion it was decided that it was best if the US could weigh in on the issue. On June 26, the US via its UN ambassador mentioned the issue to the UN Secretary-General’s office and mobilized Japan, the UK and Australia in an effort to put pressure on the UN on the issue, Lu said.