Fri, Mar 22, 2019 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Taiwan unfazed by Chinese obstruction: Joseph Wu

Taiwan will continue to make contributions to the world, despite its exclusion from most international organizations because of Chinese pressure, which has only brought Taiwan and like-minded countries closer, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said in an interview with Taipei Times reporter Stacy Hsu

There are also the issues of combating transnational crimes, combating maritime crimes, and emergency and rescue operations at sea. They all require cooperation to see substantive results. If we do not confine security cooperation to military issues, there is a lot of room for cooperation for Taiwan, Japan and surrounding nations.

TT: It has been almost five years since a Cabinet-level US official last visited Taiwan. Many US lawmakers have called on their government to send another one here next month for an event organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act. Are you optimistic about this?

Wu: It is something we hope would happen, as our people really value exchanges between Taiwan and the US. As you can see from yesterday’s [Tuesday] press conference, the US government has been working hard to increase the level of Taiwan-US interactions. [Note: Wu and AIT Director Brent Christensen held a joint press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to announce the creation of a new annual dialogue on democratic governance.]

As to when and whether a US Cabinet-level official would come to Taiwan, I believe the US government is trying hard to reach this goal, but it cannot be achieved by simply wanting it to happen. We have to see if a certain official is available and whether there is a fitting occasion for he or she to attend, so that the visit would have a substantive effect rather than a purely symbolic one.

TT: Despite growing support from the US and Europe for Taiwan to participate in the WHO and other global events, it does not seem to have stopped international organizations from succumbing to Chinese pressure and excluding Taiwan. What are your views on this?

Wu: We must admit there are some objective difficulties that we have had a hard time overcoming. One of them is the loyalty China enjoys among high-level officials at several important international organizations, who are either Chinese or people Beijing holds control over.

Given the situation, it is difficult for Taiwan to actually be able to participate in these events, but even so, we will continue our efforts and let the world see that Taiwan is a nation capable of making contributions.

Take the WHO as an example. Despite our exclusion from the organization, Taiwan has never been absent when there was a major global epidemic, such as Ebola. We have also helped to almost eradicate malaria in Sao Tome and Principe, and had our major medical institutions assist with the establishment of medical facilities in all our diplomatic allies. These are examples of Taiwan’s concrete contributions to global health and we will not stop contributing even if the WHO continues to reject us.

Another perspective to look at the issue is our efforts to secure support from other countries. Many like-minded nations spoke up for us last year and I believe we are going to see an even stronger support this year. So even though we were not able to participate at the WHO, the issue has only brought us and like-minded countries closer and more united.

TT: Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in January proposed unification under the “one country, two systems” formula, followed by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) expressed interest in signing a cross-strait peace agreement if it returns to power. Given the backdrop, are you worried about Chinese interference in next year’s presidential election?

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