Nation deserves role on world stage, Lien says

CNA , BOSTON

Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said in Boston on Friday, that Taiwan should be admitted to major "functional" or professional international organizations to contribute to global development and prosperity.

Lien made the remarks at a seminar on cross-strait relations, sponsored by Harvard University's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research.

During the seminar, many scholars asked Lien about Taiwanese people's reaction toward their nation's setbacks in pursuing a higher international profile.

Lien said many Taiwanese people feel frustrated and even outraged by their nation's repeated setbacks in seeking representation in major international organizations.

With its democratization and economic strength, Lien said, Taiwan should be allowed to join all professional international organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the IMF now that globalization is a prevailing trend.

"As Taiwan is not a WHO member, we didn't receive immediate assistance from the world health regulatory body when a SARS outbreak gripped the island earlier this year," Lien said.

While Taiwan hopes to receive world assistance in public health and many other technological fields, it is also willing to offer practical aid to other countries around the world, Lien said.

For example, Taiwan has contributed much to the APEC forum and the World Trade Organization since its admission to these two multilateral organizations, Lien said.

Scores of East Asian and cross-strait affairs experts, including former Fairbank Center director Elizabeth Perry, former US assistant Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Ecuadorean president Jamil Mahuad, attended the seminar.

Many of them showed keen interest in Taiwan's democratic reforms and the latest developments in cross-strait relations.

Some of them said they are afraid that a steady exodus of high-tech firms and research manpower from Taiwan to China will eventually hurt Taiwan's competitiveness.