Taiwan’s incoming president pledges to halt dollar diplomacy

May 10th, 2008 - 4:57 pm ICT by admin  

Taipei, May 10 (DPA) Taiwan’s incoming President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that Taipei will stop using dollar diplomacy to win recognition from foreign countries as the practice has tarnished Taiwan’s image. Ma, who will be inaugurated May 20, made the remark at a seminar while commenting on Taiwan’s recent diplomatic blunder in which $30 million designated to get Papua New Guinea (PNG) to drop China and recognise Taiwan was embezzled by two middlemen.

At the seminar, Ma said the PNG scandal was widely reported by foreign media and has hurt Taiwan’s international image.

“I read an article by a foreign scholar and the word ‘chequebook diplomacy’ kept coming up. I am quite shaken. Why is it that Taiwan is outstanding in all other fields, but in foreign relations it is a laughing stock?” he asked.

Ma said after he has assumed office, he will use a more pragmatic attitude to promote foreign ties.

“In the past Taiwan, by safeguarding its dignity while being pragmatic, succeeded in joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the World Trade Organisation.”

“In future, when we seek to join the World Health Organisation or other international groupings, we must be more pragmatic and flexible,” he said.

Ma stressed that it is now an era of negotiation, so Taiwan will launch trade with China and seek a “diplomatic ceasefire” with China - meaning Taipei and Beijing will not try to win over each other’s diplomatic allies.

Taiwan is fighting an uphill battle to save ties with its dwindling number of diplomatic allies - now 23.

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