By Martin Banks - 17th September 2008
There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China
A spokesman from the Chinese embassy to the EU on Taiwan's bid for membership of UN organisations
A bitter war of words has broken out between China and Taiwan over Taipei’s right to representation in the international community.
The 63rd general assembly of the UN will this month rule on whether Taiwan has the right to what it calls "meaningful participation" in the UN’s specialised agencies, such as the WHO, World Civil Aviation Organization and World Maritime Organization.
The EU has, traditionally, been reluctant to be drawn into the dispute and a spokesman said this week that it remains "committed" to the so-called ‘One China’ policy.
Some MEPs, including ALDE leader Graham Watson, support Taiwan’s position and several international newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, have this week run editorials on the issue.
Taiwan’s information minister Vanessa Shih told theparliament.com that her country is looking to "all members of the international community" to support its bid this year for membership of one or more of the UN’s 16 agencies.
She said, "We sincerely hope they realise the need for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the various UN agencies.
"Through our participation we can establish a platform for cooperation with mainland China in advancing the cause not only of cross-strait friendship but of international peace and prosperity."
A spokesman at China’s embassy to the EU hit back, however, describing the application to the UN assembly in New York as "unfounded". He said, "There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China.
"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the well-being of the23 million Taiwanese compatriots and understands their aspiration for and feeling about participating in international activities.
"But Taiwan has unfettered access to health and medical information and China’s adherence to the ‘One China’ principle will never change."