Beijing bars Taipei from United Nations climate talks, island says

Taiwan’s environment minister prevented from taking part in meeting in Germany

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 4:36pm

Taiwan’s environment minister was stopped from attending an annual UN climate meeting under pressure from Beijing despite having credentials as a non-governmental participant, the island said.

Environmental Protection Agency Minister Lee Ying-yuan was planning to attend a United Nations climate change meeting in Germany, the island’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

“Due to China’s interventions, environmental protection minister Lee was unable to enter the UNFCCC meeting,” it said, referring to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The meeting is the latest in a number of international events self-ruled Taiwan has not been able to take part in because of opposition from Beijing, which objects to the island being accorded anything akin to the status of an independent state.

Taiwan tells US it does not want to cause trouble in Taiwan Strait

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have nosedived since Tsai Ing-wen was elected the island’s president last year. Beijing believes she wants formal independence for Taiwan, a red line for Beijing.

Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with the mainland but will defend Taiwan’s democracy and security.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee said Tsai believed climate change was an important issue and the island would endeavour to take part in international meetings to address it.

“We will ... adhere to the president’s position that Taiwan definitely won’t be absent from international efforts to counter climate change,” Lee said.

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Since 2009, when Taiwan announced its intention to take part in UN climate change meetings, the government has helped officials get credentials for talks as non-governmental observers to attend the international meeting.

This year, Taiwan was shut out of an annual UN World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, which the island also said was due to Beijing’s coercion and threats.