Taiwan raps China for blocking African delegates for summit

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Monday blasted China for using dirty means, including intimidation and detention, to block African delegates from attending the first Taiwan-Africa summit.

Taiwan raps China for blocking African delegates for summit
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Monday blasted China for using dirty means, including intimidation and detention, to block African delegates from attending the first Taiwan-Africa summit.

Speaking at the Taiwan-Africa Progressive Partnership Forum, which is part of the first Taiwan-Africa Summit held on Sunday, Chen recounted the tricks China used which, if true, resemble scenes from a spy novel.

In one case, Chen said, China pressured an unnamed African country to stop two leaders of a political party from attending the summit. That country charged the pair with sedition so that they could not come to Taipei.

"As most African delegates had to transit through Paris to fly to Taipei, China, through the French government, forced Air France to bar them from boarding Taipei-bound flights, saying they did not have Taiwan's visa and Air France would not recognize the visa-upon-landing document issue by Taipei," Chen told the forum held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei.

In another case, some delegates had already flown to Hong Kong but China still succeeded in barring them from proceeding to Taipei.

"China would not even allow these countries' non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from attending the summit. In one country, an NGO representative was taken to the Chinese embassy and detained so that the delegate could not catch the flight to Taipei," Chen said.

Chen thanked the delegates from China's African allies for their "courage" in attending the Taiwan-African summit and for their "siding with justice."

Leaders from Taiwan's five Africa allies - Gambia, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Swaziland and Sao Tome and Principe - are attending the Taiwan-Africa summit.

Nearly 100 delegates from 35 African countries which recognize China are attending the Taiwan-Africa Progressive Partnership Forum.

At the close of the summit later Monday, leaders attending the event signed the "Taipei Declaration" with Taiwan pledging to work with its African allies to improve their health conditions, economy, technology and security problems within their countries.

One main point was for the allies to pledge to support Taiwan's bids to join global organisations.

"As a sovereign country, Taiwan should not be deprived of its right to participate in teh United Nations, the World Health Organisation and other international bodies," the declaration states, adding Taiwan's African allies support the island's bids seeking memberships of global bodies.

The African leaders also called for the end of cross strait tension, escalated recently by Chen's push for the island to join the United Nations in the name of "Taiwan" and a plan to hold a referendum for that cause.

The Taiwan-African summit is to counter China's diplomatic offensives in Africa.

When China held its 5th China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing November 2-6, 2006, China invited Taiwan's five African allies to attend, but they refused.

At the forum, China pledged 20 billion US dollars to Africa in the form of aid, non-interest loans and the exemption of debts.

Taiwan, seat of the exiled Republic of China since 1949, is currently recognized by only 24 countries. China, which sees Taiwan as its breakaway province, is wooing these countries to drop Taipei and recognize Beijing.

DPA
Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2007, 14:31
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