China in EBRD is ‘no immediate threat’

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s inclusion in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will not cause an immediate threat to Taiwan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said on Thursday. Asked to comment on the EBRD’s approval of China’s membership request in December, Michael Hsu (徐佩勇), director-general of MOFA’s Department of International Organizations, said the move will not have a major impact on Taiwan in the short term. The EBRD’s approval of China’s membership request was carried out in accordance with the long-term goal of the bank to transform from a regional organization into a global one, he added. Taiwan’s contribution to the EBRD has been widely appreciated by all members, he noted. Taiwan’s participation in the EBRD could also help local businesses to explore potential markets from Central Europe to Central Asia supported by the bank. “As a long-term partner, Taiwan and the EBRD have had close cooperation in various areas for years, and we hope to continue cordial interactions with the EBRD,” he said. According to MOFA, Taiwan has maintained a longstanding close cooperation with the EBRD since its founding in 1991, including supporting a technical cooperation fund. Taiwan has participated in the EBRD as a special observer under the name “Taipei China.” Asked if Taiwan’s sovereignty status could be degraded after China becomes a member when Taiwan uses “Taipei China” in the EBRD, Hsu said he does not share such worry. Even though Taiwan is participating in the organization as “Taipei China,” the EBRD mostly addresses the nation as Taiwan at its major events, he added. Taiwan mostly uses the name “Chinese Taipei” in the international arena due to pressure from China.

Headquartered in London, the EBRD now comprises 64 countries and two international organizations, and supports development in 37 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia. According to MOFA, Taiwan has been contributing to the EBRD’s Balkan Region Special Fund, Mongolia Cooperation Fund, Early Transition Countries Fund and its Sustainable Energy Initiative. As of December 2014, Taiwan and the EBRD had worked on 271 joint projects, among them 121 involving multiple countries. Such cooperation has created US$530 million-worth of business opportunities over the past three years for Taiwanese companies, MOFA said.