Sep 06, 2008

Taiwan: EU Urged To Support Membership of UN Agencies

Sample ImageThis year, Taiwan will not seek full membership of the UN.
Below is an article published by The Parliament:
The EU has come under further pressure to support Taiwan’s efforts to gain "meaningful participation" in the UN’s 16 specialised agencies.

Belgian MEP Dirk Sterckx says the EU and its member states should endorse Taiwan’s overtures when the bid is considered by the UN general assembly in New York on 16 September [2008].

This year Taiwan will not seek full membership of the UN but, rather, participation in one or more of the body’s agencies, in particular the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and their related activities.

Sterckx says that as an important international seafaring nation, Taiwan should at the very least be allowed membership of the maritime body.

“For many practical reasons, Taiwan should, in fact, be included in both organisations and I very much hope the UN will look kindly on its request later this month,” he said.

He said he hopes Beijing will understand the Taiwan’s aspirations since both sides of the Taiwan Strait are stepping up efforts to improve ties.

His comments come as MEPs this week vote on a report, co-authored by Sterckx, on the commission’s maritime package.

In the past, opposition from China […]has been largely responsible for Taipei’s failure to gain UN membership and access to bodies such as the WHO.

This week, 17 of Taiwan’s 23 allies submitted a joint proposal to the UN secretariat urging it to pass a resolution in support of its new application.

Sterckx is leading a high-level parliamentary delegation to Beijing in November [2008] and says he hopes to raise the Taiwan issue during the trip, when MEPs are due to meet top Chinese officials.

Sterckx, a member of the ALDE group, parliament’s third-largest grouping, believes participation in the UN specialised agencies is a fundamental right of Taiwan’s 23 million people.

A Taiwanese official in Brussels pointed out that the Taipei Flight Information Region lies at the heart of East Asia, with 12 international and four domestic routes covering its 176,000square nautical miles of airspace.

Tourists on average make 40m trips to Taiwan and about 1.7m tons of air cargo are shipped to Taiwan annually, making it a key link in global aviation security.

“However,” said the official, “Taiwan remains unable to participate in meetings held by the ICAO.”

With the world’s 10th largest shipping capacity, Taiwan has no access to the IMO meeting and cannot acquire information first hand.

“To make matters worse, the validity of Taiwan seaman’s certificates has been frequently challenged, thereby hampering the development of Taiwan’s shipping industry,” he added.