Taiwan's status not diminished in any way by U.K. position
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The Republic of China is a sovereign independent democracy, and its status will not be diminished in any way by the stance of the British government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.
The British government, in response to an Internet petition to demand official recognition of Taiwan as a country, reiterated its official position of not recognizing Taiwan as a country and said that the issue of Taiwan's status should be resolved through dialogue based on the wishes of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
'The 1972 Joint Communique between the United Kingdom and China set forth that: 'The U.K. acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is a province of the People's Republic of China and recognizes the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China,'' according to a response prepared by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the U.K. government department responsible for foreign affairs.
'The United Kingdom believes that the Taiwan issue should be resolved through dialogue, in line with the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,' it said.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said that 'since the Republic of China was established in 1912, it has been a sovereign, independent country, and has developed relations with other countries independently.'
'In addition to close diplomatic relations with its allies, it has also developed substantive relations with other countries. It is also a member of many international organizations and is actively taking part in international affairs, such as rescue missions, by shouldering responsibility in the world community,' Wang said.
British citizen Lee Chapman, reportedly married to a Taiwanese woman, initiated the online petition in January.
He said in his petition that because of its one-China policy, the U.K. does not recognize the government of the ROC and all relations between the two countries must take place on an unofficial basis.
'It's time to change this,' Chapman argued. 'Taiwan is an independent country.'
As of Feb. 4, 20,855 people had signed the petition.
The U.K. government's policy is to respond to all petitions that garner at least 10,000 signatures. With 100,000 signatures collected within six months, a petition must be considered for debate in Parliament, according to British law.
Meanwhile, Premier Simon Chang (張善政) said that substance is more important than face, when he was asked to comment on the stance of the British government.
'What can you expect the British government to say?' Chang asked, noting that China is helping the U.K. to build nuclear power plants.
'How else can it respond to such a petition?' he asked.
'Faced with a tough international situation, if we have to make a choice between substance and face, we think the former is more important,' he said, citing the substantive measures of free-trade treatment and industrial cooperation.
(By Tang Pei-chun and Lilian Wu)
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