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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan must fight for recognition

Taiwan must fight for recognition

In past years September has seen headlines about Taiwan’s bid for UN membership ahead of the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York. Despite setbacks deriving from Chinese obstruction, the bids helped raise Taiwan’s international profile, showing the international community that the Taiwanese people want to be recognized.

The annual bid was also symbolic, with the government proclaiming to the world its sovereignty and that Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The distinction between the Republic of China and the PRC, however, is blurring as the former gradually fades on the international stage with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in power.

One example of this was the nation’s bid to rejoin the UN last year in which Ma’s administration departed from the usual path of having Taiwan’s allies speak on its behalf at the UN General Assembly for full membership in the organization. Instead, the government, citing Ma’s modus vivendi foreign policy, which the government describes as a “more pragmatic and practical strategy,” proposed Taiwan be allowed to “participate meaningfully in the activities of UN specialized agencies.”

While the government hailed Taiwan’s accession to the World Health Assembly as an observer in May as a manifestation of this new approach, it failed to offer a clear account of dubious dealings with China in the process.

This year, not only has the Ma administration decided against a bid for full UN membership, it has yet to finalize in what ways and in which affiliated organizations it plans to participate.

So much for seeking Taiwan’s “meaningful participation in UN specialized agencies.” It appears the government isn’t really enthusiastic about pushing Taiwan’s interests in this regard.

“Given the current international environment, flexible diplomacy, which is pragmatic and practical, is the most accurate diplomatic approach for Taiwan to take,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) has said.

However, under Ma’s diplomatic ceasefire with Beijing, the government appears to be disarming itself diplomatically as China continues to encroach on Taiwan’s visibility.

While some may argue that the result of this is warming relations with China, the truth is that Taiwan’s sovereignty is being diminished.

It is pathetic that the president of a democratic country would so easily relinquish the opportunity to fight for his country’s place in the world and assert his nation’s sovereignty.

Despite the government’s lack of interest in pushing for UN membership, a group of ardent Taiwanese flew to New York this week to campaign for Taiwan’s inclusion. However, there is only so much civic groups can do.

If the government cannot be bothered to fight for recognition on the global stage, it will only be a matter of time before the world starts to view Taiwan as a natural part of China.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2009/09/17

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