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Taiwan faces new test in AIIB bid

Taiwan faces new test in AIIB bid

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Belying previous rhetoric welcoming Taiwan's bid to join the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), the People's Republic of China erected new hurdles on Monday that will make it harder for Taiwan to join the institution. The new rule announced by Beijing on Monday applied to an applicant that "does not enjoy sovereignty or cannot take responsibility for its international relations behavior." Such applicants can join the AIIB in one of two ways -- through an international bank that can take responsibility for Taiwan's international relations behavior or by asking such a bank to apply on its behalf, according to the new rule. Taiwan, a sovereign country whose official title is the Republic of China, does not have formal diplomatic ties with most countries of the world because of Beijing's suppression and has trouble gaining membership to most international organizations because of that. Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory and insists on bringing it back into the fold -- by force, if necessary. The proposal complicated Taiwan's bid because while it would allow Taiwan to apply for membership as a member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the country is known as "Taipei, China" in that institution, a name it considers demeaning. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reiterated Monday that it will insist on the principles of dignity and equality in joining the AIIB and stressed that it will not accept any conditions that downgrade Taiwan's international status and hurt Taiwan's national interests. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said, however, that it would still try to go through the ADB to apply on its behalf for AIIB membership, but made no mention of the name Taiwan would use. The MOF said it will "fight for a chance to join AIIB as an ADB member" and will contact the AIIB's provisional secretariat to discuss the schedule and procedures for screening new applications. Taiwan's bottom line with regard to the name for joining AIIB is Chinese Taipei, and it will not accept the name of "Taipei, China" that many suspect China prefers. In Beijing, Taiwan Affairs Office's spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said he was pleased to see AIIB handling Taiwan's application in accordance with the rules. "We believe continued communications (over this matter) will help solve all relevant issues," he said. Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 4 welcomed Taiwan's interest in joining the AIIB and said China was willing to share the opportunities for economic benefits first and foremost with Taiwanese. But such good will was clearly absent in Monday's announcement. A National Chengchi University scholar said that while Beijing has made it difficult for Taiwan to enter the AIIB through the ADB, "the door isn't closed." Huang Kui-po said that among the founding members of the AIIB, none have diplomatic ties with Taiwan. They will look at how Beijing handles Taiwan's application, instead of taking the initiative to help Taiwan, he said. Beijing will also look at the China policy of Taiwan's new government, which is to be elected in January next year. "If the new government's cross-strait policy is not to Beijing's liking, there is no reason that China would give it a gift," meaning Taiwan's bid to enter AIIB would face an even higher hurdle, Huang said. But with the right approach through both its diplomatic and cross- strait channels, Taiwan's door to the AIIB has not yet been shut for good, he said. (By Wei Shu, Chou Yi-ling, Chou Hui-ying and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-09-18 00:06 GMT+08:00