China blocks Taiwan EPA head from attending UNFCCC COP 23 

COP 23 talks kick off in Bonn, Germany

COP 23 takes place in Bonn, Germany

The twenty-third Conference of Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework-Convention on Climate Change takes place in Bonn, Germany, presided by

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Bonn, Germany will last from the 6th until the 17th of November. China has continued to block Taiwan in the international arena and barred Taiwan's head of the environmental department from joining either a main or side event this year.

Despite the pressure from China, Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the Minister of Environmental Protection Administration and the head of Taiwanese delegation, has successfully managed to meet Germany's environment officials, President of Taiwan's Pacific ally Hilda Heine, Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, and environmental department heads of other countries outside the event. 

The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is taking place in Bonn, Germany, presided over by the Government of Fiji. The main focus of the conference will be the implementation and enforcement of the Paris Climate Agreement, which was first adopted by consensus in December 2015.

The subject of climate change is of crucial importance to the survival of all mankind, even though Taiwan is still not a member of the United Nations, its delegation group is still relatively large. It consists of government officials and specialists from different government agencies, including the Central Weather Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Water Resource Agency, as well as representatives from the cities of New Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan. They have scheduled to participate in multilateral or bilateral talks with the other attending countries. 

The Central News Agency reported that Lee was forcibly denied entrance to the conference hall, due to the impeding of members of the Chinese delegation.

“Allowing Taiwan to participate in such important matters is the responsibility of the entire international society,” says Lee, obviously disappointed by the UN's inaction in the incident. Lee points out that Taiwan has an enormous population of 23 million people, its unquestionable existence is a clear justification of its ability and right to discuss such issues with other countries in the world.

“We do not want to call out names, but such a big country really doesn't have to act in such an ungenerous manner,” Lee adds.

Despite not being able to enter the conference hall, Lee still sought ways to improve diplomatic ties with the other attending countries by inviting world leaders and representatives to a luncheon held along the Rhine. President Hilda Heine of the Marshal Islands, Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalum and environment ministers from countries such as Honduras were among those who attended the luncheon.

 

Lee meets with world leaders and government officials during a luncheon held along the Rhine by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs  (Image courtesy of Central News Agency)