Sun, Jul 05, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan will join China-led AIIB under ‘Chinese Taipei’ name or not at all: Ma

Staff writer, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reiterated that the name Taiwan uses to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is at the heart of whether the nation will participate in the financial institution or not.

“The name used to join is very, very critical, and China knows that,” Ma said in an interview on TV show CTS News Square aired on Friday.

“If we cannot use ‘Chinese Taipei’ to join, then we would prefer not to participate,” Ma said, referring to the name Taiwan used to join APEC in 1991.

The AIIB charter says that members of the World Bank or Asian Development Bank (ADB) are eligible to join the AIIB, which leaves the door open to Taiwan, because it is a member of the ADB.

The problem is that the Republic of China is not willing to use the name “Taipei,China,” which it uses at the ADB, Ma said.

Taiwan cannot accept that name and has made its stance clear to Beijing, Ma said.

Although the AIIB charter has been finalized, there is a process before the bank accepts applications for new members early next year, so the final phase of the process is likely to come then, he added.

Also in the interview, the president said he has not ruled out visiting Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島).

With an area of 0.4km2, Taiping is the largest natural land mass in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), which lie about 1,600km southwest of Taiwan in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea region, thought to be rich in oil deposits and marine biodiversity, is claimed either entirely or in part by Taiwan, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Amid simmering tensions in the region, Ma proposed a South China Sea peace initiative in May, calling on all parties to put aside their differences and jointly develop the resources in the area.

Tensions in the region have risen in recent months as China has been unilaterally reclaiming land in the South China Sea, apparently to establish military facilities.

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