Thursday, August 9, 2007

Taiwan Seeking Peace and Human Rights in UN Bid (Part II)

Johannesburg, South Africa: About the exclusion of Taiwan from the UN, is it a political apartheid? How does it affect Taiwan’s people on a day-to-day basis?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: This is not just a political apartheid but also a health and environmental one. In Asia and all over the world, many countries are very concerned about the outbreak of the Avian flu in Asia, and the WHO is working hard on preventing that from happening. Unfortunately, Taiwan, not a member of the WHO (under the UN system), has been excluded from participating in this world health system.

New York, N.Y.: How does the average Taiwanese person feel about Taiwan's exclusion? Is there a lot of anger or is it basically accepted as a fait accompli?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: We don’t accept it as a fait accompli. Our relentless efforts in the past 13 consecutive years show our determination. Frankly speaking, we see our exclusion from the UN as a discrimination against us.

West Chester, Pa.: The PRC has taken a very hard stance on the recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign state. Is there any reason to believe that they can be dissuaded from this stance by any discussion with the UN acting as an intermediary?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: That is what Taiwan is hoping for. The UN should play some role in bringing the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to come to terms with each other and to reconcile their differences through peaceful means. However, so far, UN has refused to say or do anything about this.

Priceton, N.J.: Even without a seat in the UN, it doesn't really affect both Taiwan's economic and democratic development. Can you explain why Taiwan needs to become a member of the UN?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: Taiwan would have done much better if it were a member of the UN. Remember, we don’t know the exact health costs paid by Taiwan until the SARS happened in 2003. We now realize that Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO could be extremely costly.

Santa Cruz, Calif.: We hear a lot in the American media about how your president wishes to unilaterally declare independence from China. Is this truly the case? And if so, how would Taiwan’s constitution figure into such a declaration?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: That is not correct. Our president has said that Taiwan has been a sovereign country and there is no need to declare the so-called “independence.”

Hong Kong: Taiwan has made much about the fact that China has hundreds of missiles pointed at it. What is Taiwan doing to counter this threat?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: Taiwan has its own missile defense system. We want to continue to beef up our defense against China’s military threat. We have no intention to engage in any sort of arms races with China. What we have been doing is to maintain credible deterrence posture against any possible military attack from China.

Boston, Mass: I would like to focus on Taiwan's peace proposal to the UN this year. Could you explain exactly how the UN could facilitate peace between Taiwan and China?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: Taiwan Strait has been called one of the “flash-points” in Asia. In this inter-dependent world, any tension or even military conflict in the Taiwan Strait could affect the whole region and the whole world. That is why we are calling the UN’s attention to the peace and security in the Taiwan Strait. I think the UN can bring the issue to the table for discussion, or even invite both Beijing and Taipei to talk to each other at the UN.

Toronto, Canada: I cannot believe that China has the nerve to suppress Taiwan’s freedoms—for instance, continually blocking Taiwan's earnest bid to become a member of UN. I view myself as a Taiwanese-Canadian not a Chinese-Canadian. I support the right of Taiwan to gain entry. Taiwan should be a recognizable sovereign participant in the international community. My question is: in what ways can Canadians help to further Taiwan to achieve its goal?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: Thank you. We need your both moral and actual support. Please write to your government to show your support of our UN bid. Ask your government not to endorse, intentionally or unintentionally, Beijing’s efforts in isolating Taiwan in the world community. Thanks again.

Atlanta, Ga.: What is the current state of relations between Taiwan and China? Are there currently any high-level exchanges between the two?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: China has refused to have any government-to-government contacts between the two sides. As a result, there is no high-level exchange across the Taiwan Strait. Our government has been urging the Beijing side to talk to us, to no avail, however.

Diamond Bar, Calif.: China was recently infuriated with North Korea for de-stabliing the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s missile tests caused regional panic and drew anger from China. Clearly an unstable Asian region adversely affects China’s economic goals. How does a growingly internationally dependent China affect the prospects of independence for Taiwan?

Dr. Chih-cheng Lo: The question has more to do with whether China can be more democratic than whether China is becoming interdependent with the world community. If China can become a democratic country, maybe China can be more willing to give a free choice to the people in Taiwan.

(Excerpts from Viewpoint, a live discussion forum on

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