No downgrading of Taiwan at APEC: Minister

No downgrading of Taiwan at APEC: Minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan - There was no "belittling" or "downgrading" of Taiwan's status by the Chinese government at this year's APEC leaders' meeting in Beijing, Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih said yesterday.

The Taiwan delegation's participation at this year's APEC leaders' meeting in Beijing was carried out in line with previous practices and there was no deliberate downgrading of Taiwan's status by the Chinese host, Shih said yesterday during an interpellation session at the Legislature.

Shih made the remarks in response to accusations raised by several opposition lawmakers yesterday who said the Taiwanese delegation had been downgraded by the Chinese government at the APEC summit held in Beijing.

During the interpellation session, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po said the Chinese side had deliberately belittled Taiwan's sovereignty status before and during the event.

For instance, an APEC host country usually sends an envoy to personally deliver invitations to the heads of state of the member countries.

This year, however, the invitation sent to Taiwan was delivered by Gong Qingai , deputy head of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) under China's State Council.

Upon arrival at an Beijing airport, former Vice President Vincent Siew, who attended the APEC summit as President Ma Ying-jeou's special envoy, was received by another deputy TAO head instead of by a Chinese Foreign Ministry official, as leaders or special envoys from other countries have been, Chen said.

Also, Taiwan was not invited to participate in this year's APEC Foreign Ministers' Informal Breakfast, he said.

Another DPP lawmaker, Tsai Huang-liang, added that during Siew's meeting with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Sunday, the Chinese leader did not mention Siew's title as head of Taiwan's Chinese Taipei delegation but addressed him as "respected Mr. Vincent Siew."

All these above evidences have shown that the Chinese side has deliberately downgraded Taiwan's sovereignty status. However, Tsai said the Foreign Ministry did not lodge a protest with Beijing over these "inappropriate" treatments.

Asked to comment, Shih yesterday stressed that Taiwan had taken part in this year's APEC leaders' meeting in Beijing with dignity and had not been belittled.

The Taiwanese delegation lodged a protest with the APEC host over the holding of the Foreign Ministers' Informal Breakfast.

Meaningful Participation Important

Shih stressed that APEC is an important platform for Taiwan's international participation and the nation's meaningful participation in such international events is crucial for the nation's global space.

For instance, Siew was able to meet with several important national leaders, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, during the trip, she added.

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