Tuesday, 26 May 2009

China element behind overseas offices: MOFA

Taiwan News
Office in Bangladesh unable to issue visas, make contacts: Hsia

Taiwan News, Staff Writer


Taiwan will close its offices in Bangladesh, Bolivia and Venezuela but is encountering problems in setting up offices in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar because of pressure from China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
For the four years of its existence, the Taiwanese representative office in Bangladesh has been unable to issue visas, unable to hang out a plaque with its name, and unable to make any contact with that country's foreign ministry, Vice Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia told lawmakers. He defended the decision to close the office in June as an effort to cut waste of resources in the face of restrictions imposed under pressure from China.

Left-wing governments in Bolivia and Venezuela took similar attitudes toward Taiwanese offices in their countries, demanding diplomats renew their visas every three months, Hsia said.

Efforts to set up new offices in the Southeast Asian nations of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar were meeting with difficulties for the same reasons, namely that those governments were wary of antagonizing China, Hsia told lawmakers.

The difficulties occurred despite the government of President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of a "diplomatic truce" with China, meaning Taiwan would for the time being no longer try to persuade Beijing's allies to switch recognition to Taipei. China has not officially responded to Ma's policy, but since his inauguration in May last year, Taiwan has not lost a single ally.

However, a special taskforce set up more than six months ago to prepare for the opening of more Taiwanese offices in Southeast Asia has achieved little progress, Hsia admitted. Even assistance from Taiwanese business people in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar failed to overturn the countries' reservations, he said.

"Usually when we meet with restrictions overseas, there is only one element, and that is the Mainland China element," Hsia told lawmakers.

No comments: