BONN, Germany (CNA) – Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) was not able to attend a climate change conference held in Germany on Sunday due to objections from China.

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held at UNFCCC Secretariat headquarter in Bonn from Nov. 6-17.

Although the Ministry of Foreign Affair (MOFA) in Taipei made advance arrangements for Taiwan’s delegation headed by Lee to attend meetings, Lee was not allowed to enter the conference venue.

“Taiwan hopes to reach out to the world and hold dialogue with other countries,” Lee told CNA, expressing his regrets. “It is the world’s responsibility to have Taiwan take part in meetings, because the existence of Taiwan’s 23 million people is an irrefutable reality.” “There is no need for us to name the country concerned, but a big country should not be so narrow-minded,” he said.

Despite the situation, Lee still managed to engage with delegates from other countries. Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, among others, also attended a lunch banquet hosted by the MOFA.

Though not a member of the United Nations, Taiwan’s EPA heads used to take part in the climate change meetings as an NGO senior adviser.

Earlier that day, Lee voiced support for charting pathways detailing Taiwan’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with the country’s CO2 emissions projected to peak next year.

“The government hopes to decrease the ratio of thermal power in energy provision to 30 percent by 2025, so as to dramatically reduce the problem of air pollution,” he stressed.

As to the much talked about energy tax, Lee said the issue will be considered only when Taiwan’s economy has fully stabilized and recovered.

By Lin Yu-li and Flor Wang