It's time to stop being `invisible' country: Chen

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Apr 24, 2007 - Page 3

Insisting the campaign to change the nation's name must continue, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that the government's goal is to use the name "Taiwan" to apply for UN membership.

Chen said yesterday that the names that the country has used to join international organizations are "weird" and Taiwan must stop being an "invisible" country.

"We must courageously walk out to the international community and walk with pride under the name `Taiwan,'" he said.

The country joined the International Olympic Committee under the name "Chinese Taipei" and joined the WTO under the name "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu." The government has applied to become an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA) as a "health entity" -- a term used to defuse China's opposition to Taiwan's participation.

Chen made the remarks while receiving a delegation from the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

He said that he believed nobody could stand against the trend of Taiwan-centric consciousness and Taiwanese people's right to use Taiwan as their own name must not be deprived or restricted.

"The name change campaign must continue," he said. "It is not fair to exclude Taiwan from the United Nations and leave the 23 million people of Taiwan to face China's military buildup by themselves. It is a direct challenge of the universal values of freedom, democracy and peace."

Although the unfairness has a historic root, Chen said that the country must make extra efforts to change the situation.

"I don't expect things to change overnight, but if we don't take action today, we won't ever be able to get things done," he said.

After he sent a letter to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) on April 11 expressing the country's wish to become a member of the organization under the name "Taiwan," Chen said the administration had set the goal of applying for UN membership with the name "Taiwan" and is mapping out plans to reach the goal.

Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday blamed the administration's decision to halt the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant as the main source of political infighting.

The decision was announced immediately after a meeting between Chen and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

Other factors attributed to political discord included the constitutional system and the flawed inquiry into the election-eve assassination attempt.

Lu said that as "certain individuals or media outlets" were trying to create the impression that Chen is in favor of a specific presidential hopeful, she hoped the president would make his preference known soon.