Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ministry too passive on UN participation: alliance

DEFEATISM:Taiwan UN Alliance secretary-general William Lo said assuming that there is no way the nation will win membership is playing into the hands of Beijing

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should more proactively pursue participation in the UN, including applying for full membership, Taiwan UN Alliance members said yesterday before setting off on an annual lobbying tour in the US.

More than 20 members of this year’s delegation gathered in prayer, led by alliance secretary-general William Lo (羅榮光), a former general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan who founded the organization 14 years ago after the nation failed to receive timely support from the WHO during the SARS epidemic.

“What the government cannot do, we can do loudly, and we will resolutely push for Taiwan’s entry into the UN,” alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said, criticizing what he called the ministry’s lack of proactive and “positive” action.

While some have called for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to resurrect former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) annual push for UN membership, ministry officials last week said that they intend to pursue a “moderate” path toward greater participation in UN-related organizations, such as the World Health Assembly, instead of applying for formal membership.

“Even though the government is doing a bit more than it did in the past few years, we still feel that it is not enough,” Michael Tsai said, calling on the president to directly write to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in her capacity as the nation’s head of state.

“Keeping our heads down is not going to keep us from losing ground to China, so we should be shouting to the world that China’s oppression of Taiwan is wrong and unjust,” he added.

Lo contrasted the number of this year’s delegation members with the hundreds who used to participate when Chen provided formal support.

“People will say there is no way we can win membership, but that is just playing into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” Lo said.

However, he acknowledged that an alliance member had met with ministry officials prior to the US trip and secured the ministry’s help in arranging meetings with US lawmakers.

Alliance members are also to attend Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan’s (李應元) conference at Colombia University on Friday next week regarding Taiwan’s willingness to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Michael Tsai said.

Other public events include a forum at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs on Thursday and a protest march from the Chinese consulate in New York City to UN headquarters on Saturday.

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