Tai­wan AIIB en­try is ‘highly prob­a­ble,’ says Chi­nese of­fi­cial

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

Main­land China’s Deputy Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Zhu Guangyao ( ) said Fri­day that Tai­wan’s chances of en­ter­ing the Asian In­fras­truc­tural In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB, ) had a high prob­a­bil­ity. Zhu made the com­ment while at­tend­ing a meet­ing of the At­lantic Coun­cil ( ), a Wash­ing­ton-based think tank. When ques­tioned by a re­porter from the Cen­tral News Agency re­gard­ing the suit­abil­ity of Tai­wan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion un­der the des­ig­na­tion “Chi­nese Taipei,” Zhu voiced his coun­try’s sup­port for the is­land’s bid for membership as “an eco­nomic en­tity.” He added that pre­vi­ous in­ter­na­tional prac­tice for Tai­wan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion un­der this for­mula in­cluded the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (as “Sep­a­rate Cus­toms Ter­ri­tory of Tai­wan, Penghu, Kin­men and Matsu”) and APEC (un­der “Chi­nese Taipei”).

Zhu said that ex­ten­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions were un­der way with Tai­wan re­gard­ing the des­ig­na­tion is­sue. Tai­wan’s Min­istry of Fi­nance (MOF) re­sponded to Zhu’s com­ments in Wash­ing­ton by con­firm­ing that ne­go­ti­a­tions over an ap­pro­pri­ate name for its AIIB par­tic­i­pa­tion were in fact tak­ing place. It re­it­er­ated the stance of “dig­nity and equal­ity” as re­quired prin­ci­ples for membership.

Schol­ars Ad­vo­cate Aware­ness

on AIIB

Mean­while, schol­ars pushed for greater public aware­ness of the in­ter­na­tional con­text be­hind China’s AIIB mo­ti­va­tions. The R.O.C. In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies As­so­ci­a­tion (

) held a dis­cus­sion fo­rum yes­ter­day at Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity on the pos­si­ble ef­fects of the AIIB on Tai­wan. The event was led by lo­cal schol­ars in­clud­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent and for­mer Deputy Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Philip Yang ( ) and Mignonne Chan ( ), founder of Out-of-the-Box Con­sul­tancy ( ) and for­mer se­nior ad­vi­sor to the pres­i­dent at the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

While an­swer­ing ques­tions from the public and me­dia present, the schol­ars agreed that the for­ma­tion of the AIIB rep­re­sented a wa­ter­shed mo­ment in re­cent his­tory since the Cold War. Yang said that the in­vest­ment bank be­longs to Asia and the world, and that Tai­wan needs to face new his­tor­i­cal cir­cum­stances. He ar­gued that the gov­ern­ment needs to take a more proac­tive stance, in­clud­ing de­part­men­tal and min­is­te­rial meet­ings and more con­sul­ta­tions with other coun­tries in APEC.

Chan ar­gued that bank par­tic­i­pa­tion would bring more op­por­tu­ni­ties to the is­land’s small and medium-sized en­ter­prises, and that it pre­sented a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive to “build­ing a cart be­hind closed doors.” She also ques­tioned the is­sue of the AIIB’s op­er­a­tional trans­parency, a sub­ject broached by the U.S. and its ally Ja­pan, both of which have not ap­plied to join the bank as “a non-is­sue.”

The schol­ars also em­pha­sized the need for public aware­ness on the larger in­ter­na­tional con­text at play in China’s de­ci­sion to form the AIIB. Tsai Tung-chieh, a pro­fes­sor at Na­tional Chung Hsin Uni­ver­sity urged the public to uti­lize the wide rang­ing num­ber of In­ter­net-based sources to ed­u­cate them­selves on the is­sue, rather than wait for gov­ern­ment ex­pla­na­tions. Li Da-jung, a pro­fes­sor at Tamkang Uni­ver­sity added that Tai­wan can­not sus­tain it­self with­out tak­ing in­ter­na­tional trends into con­sid­er­a­tion.

”The world will not cease to move for­ward be­cause of Tai­wan,” Li said.

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