Tien claims diplomatic gains on Europe tour

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao confirmed yesterday that he has recently visited several European and western Asian countries which maintain no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Tien made the remarks to reporters yesterday morning after briefing five legislators, members of the legislature’s diplomacy and overseas Chinese affairs committee, about his 20-day trip

“I have successfully visited ‘several countries’ which no ROC foreign minister has ever visited,” he said implying that he had visited a number of countries that maintain no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. “I had the opportunity to meet with high-ranking officials in many countries,” Tien said, adding that he couldn’t disclose what had been discussed during the meetings. The minister is believed to have left the island for Europe three weeks ago. On April 23 Tien met with Taiwan’s representatives from 23 European offices as well as those from the Russian and Belarus offices. Tien left Europe on April 30 for Jordan where he stayed three days to meet with Taiwan diplomats of eight Middle Eastern countries. Tien told Taiwan diplomats that the country has reached new achievement during the last 12 months by expanding Taiwan’s position within the international community, though the government has been facing economic problems. In an effort to expand Taiwan’s status on the international stage, Tien said that “the Foreign Ministry would make every effort to achieve a breakthrough.” In Jordan, Tien and Taiwan representatives also exchanged views on how to break mainland China’s diplomatic blockade of the island and to use Taiwan’s limited diplomatic sources. They also discussed ways to achieve Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. Meanwhile, Francis T. N. Chang, director-general of the ministry’s Department of West Asian Affairs, is optimistic over Taiwan’s relations with Jordan, where the minister was warmly welcomed during his three-day stay.

Chang said that although Jordan maintains no formal diplomatic relation with Taiwan, it has always been friendly towards Taiwan. Jordan, a major crude oil producer, severed its formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan on April 14, 1977.

The minister, according to Chang, had talks with Jordan’s officials from both ruling and opposition parties. In addition to Jordan, Tien also visited several other Middle Eastern countries.