The leader of a Chinese delegation to the Philippines, Dong Junxin (董俊新), who is vice president of the China International Cultural Association, stormed out of an international event when an organizer called Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines an ambassador yesterday.
Raul Sunico, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and renowned Filipino pianist, accidentally called Donald Lee (李傳通) an ambassador when he invited Lee to deliver a speech at the Federation for Asia Cultural Promotion’s (FACP) 29th annual conference in Manila.
Dong said he found the title politically offensive. He added that it was wrong to politicize a cultural event and under no circumstances should a Taiwanese representative be mistaken as an ambassador, as this violated the “one China” principle. He said there should never be two Chinas at any formal event.
Dong did not return to the venue until FACP chairman Hsu Po-yun (許博允) reassured him that the conference was a cultural exchange and would not become politicized.
Sunico told the Central News Agency that he was unaware of the cross-strait situation or that the word “ambassador” would trigger political controversy.
It was unfortunate that such an incident happened, but it certainly highlighted the many diplomatic areas China and Taiwan still needed to work on, Taipei Culture Foundation chairperson Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) said.
China should play down ideology if it wanted to show its good will in improving cross-strait exchanges, Lee added.
As chairman of the FACP, it is important to remain fair and impartial in dealing with such issues, especially as the aim of the conference is to use culture and arts to resolve human conflicts, Hsu said.
This year, more than 300 representatives from Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Japan, the UK, the US, Singapore and Indonesia attended the three-day meeting with the goal of promoting cultural exchange between the East and the West.
Asia is a vast region and is home to many diverse cultures that require a lot of time to become familiar with, Hsu said. For this reason, exchange activities are needed to help the West to understand Asian cultures better, he said.
Hsu, a well-known Taiwanese composer and chairman of FACP, led Taiwan’s delegation, which consisted of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, the Asia Pacific Quartet, drum troupe UTheatre and Taiwanese-Australian violinist Ray Chen (陳銳).