Thu, Dec 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ministry does not consider Jerusalem to be Israeli capital

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

The government does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said yesterday, in response to a lawmaker’s questions prompted by US President Donald Trump’s announcement last week.

Taiwan has no diplomatic relations with Israel or Palestine.

Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and is relocating the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said during a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Tsai then asked ministry officials whether the government agrees with the US position.

Taiwan does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as the Israeli claim is contentious in the international community, Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director-General Chen Chun-shen (陳俊賢) said.

The government’s policy is to follow the international consensus, Chen said.

However, the ministry’s Web site for Israel lists Jerusalem as the capital, with a qualifier in brackets that the city’s status is not widely recognized internationally and that the nation’s diplomatic mission is in Tel Aviv.

Asked by Tsai to clarify the ministry’s position on Palestine, Chen said its situation is exceptional, as it has UN observer status, but does not enjoy diplomatic recognition as a state.

Most nations conduct exchanges with Palestine in the same way they would deal with a foreign state without formally recognizing its statehood, Chen said.

Tsai said Palestine obtaining UN observer status shows that it has “one-upped” Taiwan and the nation might need to build a better rapport with Palestine.

Palestine’s efforts within a few decades put them on the path to normal statehood, he said.

“Taiwan might have things to learn from it,” he added.

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