The president of the small Pacific island nation of Palau has called on Taiwan to be allowed to join efforts to protect the world’s oceans after Taiwanese nationals were barred from attending a UN event in Portugal.
The event focused on the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, a major concern for Pacific island nations.
“We need all of humanity, including Taiwan’s 23 million people, to be part of the solution,” President Surangel Whipps Jr. said on the first day of the United Nations Ocean Conference. is held from June 27 to July 1.
The president’s comments were part of a UN press release on June 27 and were followed by more critical comments attributed to a delegate during the conference’s closing ceremony, as reported by Reuters.
“The UN has excluded Taiwan’s 23 million people from the conversation,” the anonymous delegate said. “They weren’t given badges and weren’t allowed to join our delegation just because they hold Taiwanese passports.
“We view this as a violation of our sovereign rights…ocean issues are global issues and we call on all of us to work together without discrimination.”
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has barred the self-governing island from participating in any international organization made up of sovereign states, including the United Nations.
A US delegate said Palau should be allowed to include the Taiwanese people on its list of delegates, as each member state has the right to decide on the composition of its delegation for the conference.
“No accreditation committee should have pressured them to remove these people from their delegations,” the US delegate said, Reuters reported.
The Palau president’s comments came as Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe pulled out of the Ocean Conference on June 27 after China, which sits on the powers committee of the UN, requested that three Taiwanese delegates be removed from the Tuvalu delegation.
In response to the incident, Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Taiwanese delegates “will only bring dishonor to themselves” if they continue to join foreign delegations in sneaking into the streets. international conferences.
“Some countries ignored the one-China principle and the prevailing trend in the world. This made it easier for Taiwanese authorities’ personnel to sneak into the conference and deliberately caused a stir on this matter,” he said. told reporters.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on an eight-country tour in May to strengthen alliances with Pacific leaders who enjoy friendly relations with Beijing.
Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands are the only four Pacific countries to have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and to recognize the island as a sovereign nation.
Daniel Y. Teng contributed to this report.