Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taiwanese see China's diplomatic blockade as unfavorable to cross-strait relations

According to a poll conducted by the China Credit Information Bureau from June 9 to June 11, 2007, 85.3% of the Taiwanese public (88.7% pan-blue; 94.3% pan-green) believes that China prevents Taiwan from participating in international organizations and lowers Taiwan's international status, which adversely affects the development of cross-strait relations.

Furthermore, 62.4% of the Taiwanese public feels angry about China’s diplomatic sway that caused Costa Rica to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan. 64.4% of the Taiwanese public (66.3% pan-blue; 80.6% pan-green) believes that China needs to take responsibility for the deterioration of cross-strait relations.

In this public poll, 78.2% of the Taiwanese public (75.4% pan-blue; 94.7% pan-green) believes that the Chinese government is not sincere. 60% of the public agrees (56.1% pan-blue; 80.2% pan-green) and 24% of the public disagrees (32.3% pan-blue; 13.6% pan-green) with the following statement: “China's cross-strait policy aims at eliminating the ROC and the annexation of Taiwan. Furthermore, it is impossible for the Chinese government to formally allow Taiwan to rule itself with sovereignty. Thus, people should not have false hopes in the Chinese Communist Party.”

In the past, when China established diplomatic relations with other countries, China requested them to “recognize” Taiwan as a part of China. As for international organizations, even though they accepted China's membership, they rarely made statements on Taiwan's and China's position.

However, recently China has begun new practices that greatly affect Taiwan's ability to enter or maintain their memberships in international inter-governmental organizations. This has sent a warning to Taiwan and the United States. For example, the Republic of China [Taiwan] has been a member of the “World Animal Organization” as early as 1954. On May 2007, 169 members of the organization voted to acknowledging China's stance that the People's Republic of China [China] represented the sole legitimate government of China, including Taiwan. As a result, Taiwan could only participate in the activities of the World Organization for Animal Health as a “non-sovereign regional member.” The activities, documents, publications, and websites of the World Organization for Animal Health there note Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei" [中華台北].

If countries silently default to the idea of “Taiwan is a part of China" or "China represents Taiwan," Taiwan’s ability to participate in international organizations will be strongly restricted.

The sudden rise of China’s wealth and power presents a greater challenge to Taiwan’s policies on bilateral and multilateral diplomacies. In our opinions, the fact that the United States, Japan, and many other countries and international organizations have not made an official statement referring Taiwan as a part of China means that Taiwan government, its people and diplomats need to be more vigilant.

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