PRESS GROUP SPONSORS SEMINAR ON TAIWAN ISSUE
Jun 19, 2003 20:33 UTC+0800
New York, June 18 (CNA) The United Nations Correspondents
Association (UNCA) sponsored a seminar on the Taiwan issue
Wednesday, presided over by UNCA President Tony Jenkins.
Nancy Soderberg, vice president of International Crisis Group,
and Chen Lung-chih, an international law professor at New York
Law School, were invited to analyze the Taiwan issue from the
legal and political perspectives.
Journalists and foreign ambassadors stationed at U.N.
headquarters were free to ask questions or express their own
views at the seminar.
Jenkins said in his opening remarks that the seminar was not
designed to challenge U.N. Resolution No. 2758, which gave the
China seat to the People's Republic of China at the expense of
the Republic of China in 1971. The seminar was neither a
diplomatic nor a political event, but was aimed at exchanging
views and enhancing the transparency of international affairs,
Soderberg said her company does not have a specific stance
toward Taiwan and hopes only that the two sides of the Taiwan
Strait can peacefully settle their disputes.
In her view, Soderberg said, there exists a potential risk of
cross-strait conflict and global society should help reduce
Over the past decade, she claimed, support for the "one
China" concept has been eroded steadily among the people
of Taiwan. However, she went on, this fundamental change has
seldom been noticed by the world. Worse still, she continued,
the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have become more
uncompromising over the issue of national identity and
She claimed that both Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties
consider Taiwan to be an independent sovereign county. On the
other hand, she said, the PRC insists that Taiwan and the
mainland belong to the same country and that if necessary, it
will not hesitate to use force to realize its
Noting that Beijing's bottom line is that Taiwan must move
toward peaceful unification, Soderberg said the United Sates
and the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should work together to
forge a mutual trust mechanism to avoid any misjudgment of the
situation and any possible military conflict.
She suggested that Taiwan and the mainland increase economic
exchanges, including cooperation in fishery, customs and
coastal energy exploration. She further said the mainland
should reduce the number of its tactical ballistic missiles
deployed against Taiwan in exchange for Taiwan's cutting of
its defense budget.
As for global society, Soderberg said countries around the
world can support Taiwan's participation in international
organizations that do not require statehood, such as the World
Health Assembly -- the governing body of the World Health
part, Chen said that Taiwan and the mainland are two different
countries and that Taiwan is not part of China. He lamented
that the so-called "one China" principle has become
what he called "one China extortion."
Chen claimed that the PRC has abused the "one China"
principle to violate the "self-determination and peaceful
solution of disputes" -- principles enshrined in the U.N.
More ironically, Chen said, the "one China"
principle does not comply with political reality. Now is the
time to undo this "mantra," Chen said, adding that
"one Taiwan, one China" is the best replacement.
Chen said that allowing Taiwan into international
organizations would be a constructive step toward the
establishment of a world order of peace and justice.
He reminded the audience that Washington's "one
China" policy is based on a premise, namely, the future
of Taiwan must be resolved through peaceful means.
In implementing its "one China" policy, Chen said,
the United States should stress the Taiwan Relations Act --
the U.S. law that regulates U.S. relations with Taiwan in the
absence of formal diplomatic ties.
further said that Taiwan's assertion of its basic rights
should not be regarded as a provocative act.
The UNCA decided to organize the seminar after mainland
China's political maneuvering in late May led to the
disruption of a press briefing by Andrew Hsia,
director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in
New York, who was due to speak to the UNCA about the severe
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis and Taiwan's efforts
to work with the World Health Organization.
In a letter to Wang Yingfan, the PRC's permanent
representative to the U.N., the UNCA said it would organize a
panel discussion on the future of Taiwan and its legal status,
"with speakers from all shades of opinion."
(By S.C. Chang and Sofia Wu)