U.S., Singapore, Guatemala among 14 Taiwan supporters at U.N. meet

Several China allies spoke up for country, unlike some Taiwan allies

Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 2
2008-10-01 01:36 AM

On the last session of UN General Assembly General Debate on Sep 29 (local time), Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister, Yang Rong-wen, praised the relaxation of cross-strait relations as a good example of resolving conflicts. (file photo)

During the United Nations General Assembly which finished Monday, a total of 14 countries spoke out in support of Taiwan's bid for meaningful participation in the world body's specialized organizations.
Taiwan's bid was officially rejected after a debate between China and the Solomon Islands two weeks ago, but the island still closely monitors which countries comment on its efforts.

For the first time since Taiwan started its U.N. campaign 16 years ago, China did not mention Taiwan in its speech at the Assembly, delivered this year by Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).

In contrast, several of China's official allies, including the United States, spoke favorably of Taiwan. Washington put out a statement of support in favor of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo praised Taiwan, contrasting the island's improving relations with China with the situation in Eastern European states such as Kosovo and Georgia.

New Zealand's ambassador to the U.N., Rosemary Banks, encouraged Taiwan and China to continue to push for talks, while the European Union wanted to see more of Taiwan at regional forums.

The island's allies came up with a mixed performance, media reported yesterday.

Guatemala, a diplomatic ally which was not a signatory to the original U.N. petition, spoke out in favor of Taiwan's bid.

However, the representatives of several other allies in Latin America, including Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti and Honduras, did not mention Taiwan in their speeches. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended presidential inaugurations in two of those countries, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, last August.

Taiwan's U.N. bid this year followed a different pattern from the 15 previous attempts by only focusing on specialized organizations instead of on the world body itself. The first bid since Ma came to office also refrained from mentioning a name for the island, in contrast to last year's bid when the island used Taiwan.

The opposition has faulted Ma for being too timid and for backing down on the defense of Taiwan's sovereignty in the face of Chinese arrogance.

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