You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Embassy Row

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

IN THE SHADOWS AT THE U.N.

Taiwanese officials are wondering why the United Nations continues to ignore their prosperous, stable democracy while U.N. diplomats promote statehood for the Palestinians - a squabbling, divided entity aligned with a terrorist organization.

"For Taiwan itself, of course, it's an irony," a Taiwanese official told Embassy Row on Tuesday.

The official asked not to be identified because his comments might be mistaken for a formal Taiwanese position on Palestinian statehood.

As many Arab leaders demanded U.N. recognition for the Palestinians and President Obama scrambled to stop it, Taiwan quietly reminded the world that it had spent 40 years standing in the shadows of the United Nations.

"Taiwan's exclusion from the U.N. system deprives its people from international representation and goes against the U.N.'s founding value of inclusion," said Frank Yee Wang, a spokesman for the Taiwanese office in Washington.

He noted that the Republic of China, the official name for Taiwan, is a multiparty democracy with 23 million citizens and the world's 18th largest economy.

The Palestine Liberation Organization gained official U.N. "observer" status in 1974. It is considered a U.N. "entity," rather than a nonmember nation like the Vatican. The Palestinian Authority has only limited control over the West Bank and lacks internationally defined boundaries. It formed an alliance with the terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Taiwan, by contrast, lost its U.N. seat in 1971, when communist China gained membership in the General Assembly and the Security Council. China continues to oppose U.N. membership for Taiwan and claims the island as a province of the mainland.

The Palestinians have some form of diplomatic relations with more than 140 countries, while Taiwan is recognized by 23 nations, including the Vatican.

Taiwan has informal relations with dozens of other countries. The United States and Taiwan maintain official cultural and trade ties, and Washington also is committed to protecting Taiwan from Chinese aggression.

Mr. Wang on Tuesday released a background paper on Taiwan's efforts to establish observer position on U.N. agencies. The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, invited Taiwan to send an observer three years ago.

Taiwan also is trying to gain similar status with the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"The international community is only as strong as its weakest link. Climate change, terrorism, financial crises and natural disasters will not stop at the border of any nation, including Taiwan," the background paper said.

"Taiwan has opened its doors to the world. Now it is time for the U.N. system to open its doors to Taiwan."

'GROWING FRUSTRATIONS' WITH CHINA

Chinese protectionist trade policies are creating "growing frustrations" among U.S. officials and business executives, U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke warned Chinese officials on Tuesday.

Mr. Locke, in speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, urged China to revalue its currency, saying most economists think the communist government deliberately keeps the yuan low to make imports more expensive and domestic products cheaper.

He also appealed to the government to protect foreign copyrights from counterfeiting in China.

"China's current business climate is creating growing frustrations among foreign business and government leaders, including my colleagues in Washington," Mr. Locke said.

He complained that a "lack of openness in many areas of Chinese society" will mean fewer innovations from Chinese business and slower growth for the economy.

"In industries like mining, power generation and transportation, the government selects national champions and effectively shuts out foreign competition altogether," he said, referring to China's protectionist policies.

The United States wants to do more business with China and supports a stronger Chinese economy, he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.