Fri, Sep 30, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Yang says Taiwan won’t pursue UN observer status

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday rejected the idea of having Taiwan pursue observer status in the UN, saying the country is sticking to the course of seeking meaningful participation in the specialized agencies of the world body.

“The UN per se is highly political in nature. It’s not that we are not willing to participate in the UN, but that we have to adopt a feasible and pragmatic approach,” Yang told the legislature’s Foreign and Defense Committee.

During a question-and-answer session with Yang, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) proposed the country apply for UN observership.

“Think about the possibility. We should not give up. It’s simple to become an observer at the UN because it does not require voting, it just needs an invitation from the UN Secretariat, although [for Taiwan] that could be the difficult part,” Chiang said.

In the wake of the Palestinians’ bid for membership of the UN taking center stage in the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly last week, Chiang said the Palestinians’ bid deserved more attention from Taiwan because it could help this nation readjust its strategy for trying to join the UN.

That Palestine, which currently holds non-voting observer status as a non-state entity at the UN, asked the world body to admit it as a full member state has been an issue of concern to the ministry, Yang told the committee.

“The situation facing Taiwan is different from the one Palestine is in. Palestine is recognized by more than 100 countries, while only 23 countries recognize us,” he said.

Yang said Chiang’s suggestion was an idea the country would work toward, but “not at this stage” as the ministry focuses on seeking to participate meaningfully in UN-related organizations.

Previous efforts to join the UN not only caused public frustration, but hurt Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with other countries, Yang said.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration decided in 2009 not to push for full membership in the UN, seeking instead to take part in the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in accordance with the mode adopted at the World Health Assembly (WHA).

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