《TAIPEI TIMES》 Tuvalu exits forum after its Taiwanese experts blocked
From left, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta open the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon yesterday. Photo: AP
/ Reuters, WELLINGTON
Tuvalu’s foreign minister pulled out of the UN Ocean Conference opening in Portugal yesterday after China blocked the participation of three Taiwanese included in the Pacific island nation’s delegation, Radio New Zealand reported.
Taiwan is not a member of the UN and its citizens are unable to attend UN events as representatives of Taiwan.
Tuvaluan Minister for Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs Simon Kofe withdrew from the conference after China challenged the accreditation of three Taiwanese delegates included in Tuvalu’s delegation, Radio New Zealand reported yesterday.
The nation of 12,000 people has had diplomatic ties with Taiwan since 1979, and is one of just 14 UN member states around the world that continue to have diplomatic ties with Taiwan rather than China.
Asked for comment, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian （趙立堅） reiterated Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is part of China.
“The Taiwan authorities’ attempts to squeeze into the United Nations Conference on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea by engaging in petty maneuvers in the international arena or acting as followers of other countries will only demean themselves,” he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Tsuei Ching-lin （崔靜麟） yesterday said that the ministry strongly condemns China for its abuse of power in the UN’s Credentials Committee.
The composition of delegations of UN member states at UN events has always been decided by the member states themselves, and the committee members have nothing to say about the delegation members, he said.
China’s pressuring of Tuvalu over its delegation demonstrated Beijing’s malicious intent, he said, adding that Taiwan would continue to work with like-minded nations, despite China’s increasingly malicious behavior in the UN and elsewhere.
Tsuei also expressed gratitude to Tuvalu for its efforts to assist Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan