Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ex-diplomats urge new global strategy

LIBERATION:Instead of pursuing traditional allies, the nation should emphasize persistence, as when it campaigned for readmission into the UN, former officials said

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Following the Cabinet reshuffle late last month of national security, defense and foreign affairs positions, retired diplomats yesterday called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to exercise persistence and imagination at a time of diplomatic challenges.

China is campaigning to exclude Taiwan from participation in international organizations, raising fears that Taiwan could be barred from events and organizations this year, such as the World Health Assembly, Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Beijing has also been systematically targeting Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and forcing Taiwanese trade groups to be subsumed by their Chinese counterparts.

Rumors that the Vatican is on the verge of extending diplomatic recognition to China in exchange for severing ties with Taiwan has also caused alarm within the Taiwanese diplomatic establishment and media.

The ministry should “liberate” itself from the conventional framework of maintaining ties with diplomatic allies, while emphasizing persistence, former deputy foreign minister Michael Kau (高英茂) said.

It should concentrate its energies and budget on unconventional strategies with the aim of developing relationships with foreign nationals via semi-official or non-governmental organizations, Kau said.

The nation’s values of democracy, human rights, freedom and environmental protection are assets that the government should utilize in broadening Taiwan’s appeal to the world, thereby securing national survival and regional peace, he said.

“These are strategies for which China has no real counters,” Kau added.

The shift in positions occupied by China and Taiwan internationally was caused by the US government’s geostrategic reorientation, said Francias Lee (李宗儒), a retired diplomat who was posted to multiple missions and led the nation’s efforts to reclaim a seat at the UN.

“The Republic of China’s diplomats should not underestimate their ability to influence outcomes,” he said.

When promoting the nation’s return to the UN, he obtained a UN phone book, dialed the number of every foreign government’s mission and demanded to speak to their political counselors, Lee said.

“We bucked up and did what essentially was a door-to-door campaign, but the important thing is that we got the message out — that we were the de facto government of a part of China, we were a democratic state and we wanted to return to the UN,” he said.

Although discrimination against Taiwan persists, the nation has long “left behind the days of having to beg for sympathy,” former representative to France Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said.

Chipping away at diplomatic obstacles and combining the nation’s diplomatic work with cultural and educational outreach proved successful over his career of 14 years as the representative to France, Lu added.

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