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Taiwan lobbies Asean for dialogue partner status


August 19, 2008

Taiwan lobbies Asean for dialogue partner status

Taiwan’s parliamentarian delegation is visiting Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states to lobby for the island state to be named a dialogue member of the regional grouping, reported the Central News Agency (CNA) on Monday.

“The world is moving towards integration, like the integration of the Americas, the European Union and Asean. Taiwan does not want to be marginalized,” CNA quoted Deputy Parliament Speaker Tseng Yung-chuan as saying during a meeting with Bangkok-based Taiwanese businessmen.

China, Japan and South Korea are already Asean dialogue partners, Tseng said, and will become Asean trading partners in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Tseng said he would meet with Thai parliamentarians to seek their support for Taiwan’s becoming an Asean dialogue partner, or a member of Asean Plus Four.

Tseng plans to visit all the 10 Asean countries, but this current trip only includes Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

Since Taiwan lost its United Nations seat to China in 1971 and was expelled from all UN-affiliated organizations soon after, it has been seeking to rejoin world organizations and break its international isolation.

The island, currently recognized by only 23 countries, is also seeking to become a partner and sign a free-trade pact with Asean.

Analysts said that unless Asean gets approval from China, which sees Taiwan as its breakaway province, the regional grouping would not want to develop close ties with Taipei.

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