EU backs Taiwan for special fora


BRUSSELS — The European Union expressed Friday its support for Taiwan’s participation in “specialized multilateral fora” in the wake of Taiwan’s latest failure to have the United Nations address the issue of its “meaningful participation” in specialized agencies of the world body.

“It (the European Union) reiterates its support to Taiwan’s participation in specialized multilateral fora, especially where Taiwan’s participation is important to the EU and global interests, and it encourages both sides (of the Taiwan Strait) to solve this issue through dialogue,” read a statement released by the Council of the European Union.

In particular, the EU said it hopes Taiwan and China can take concrete steps through dialogue to make possible Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in the implementation of the International Health Regulations.

The EU, however, reiterated its “one China” policy and said that it does not support membership for Taiwan in international organizations that require statehood.

The EU move followed a similar one by the United States. In a statement issued Wednesday through the United States Mission to the United Nations, Washington reiterated its support for “meaningful participation” for Taiwan in U.N. specialized agencies, including in the World Health Organization.

Michael Ying-mao Kau, Taiwan’s representative to the European Union and Belgium, said EU support for Taiwan’s participation in “specialized multilateral fora” is not only positive but also significant, because it means the EU support for Taiwan is not limited to its participation in U.N. activities.

“This shows the European Union is in favor of Taiwan’s meaningful participation in a broader sense in international activities,” according to Kau.

He also urged Beijing to consider seriously and respond positively to Taiwan’s bid.

In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the U.S. and EU support offered to Taiwan demonstrates that the moderate and pragmatic approach adopted by Taiwan this year in promoting its U.N. bid has won the approval of the respective governments.

Taiwan has not been represented in the world body since 1971, when the Republic of China’s seat was given to the People’s Republic of China, and it has tried unsuccessfully — thanks to Beijing’s objections — to have the United Nations consider the issue of its representation since 1993.

Unlike last year, when Taiwan was in a high-profile push for full membership under the name Taiwan, this year the country promoted a bid to “participate meaningfully in the activities of the U.N. specialized agencies,” in line with President Ma Ying-jeou’s “modus vivendi” diplomatic strategy that favors a moderate and pragmatic approach.

However, a request put forth by 17 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to include the issue as a supplementary item on the agenda of the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly was rejected Wednesday by the U.N. General Committee, again because of China’s opposition.