China on Monday rejected Taiwan’s application to become a founding member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
It said, however,the island is welcome to apply to be a new member after both sides work out some “participation issues”, indicating that the rejection had something to do with Taiwan’s preferred membership name, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said in a statement that China is willing to “gather more opinions” and ultimately find an “appropriate name” under which Taiwan can join the bank.
That means Taiwan cannot join the multilateral lender as “Chinese Taipei”, the newspaper said.
What the island calls itself is a sensitive issue in cross-strait relationship.
Under pressure from China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province, the self-ruled island has been competing in international sporting events as “Chinese Taipei” and joined the World Trade Organization as the “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu”, the report noted.
In 1986, after China joined the Asian Development Bank, the institution changed Taiwan’s membership name to “Taipei, China” from “Chinese Taipei.”
The Taiwanese government protested the change, saying the name suggested Taiwan was under China’s jurisdiction. But the change went into effect and Taiwan is still a member of the ADB.
President Ma Ying-jeou has said “Chinese Taipei” is the island’s bottom line and his government may drop the AIIB bid if the membership name fails to protect Taiwan’s dignity.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party said the government should have waited until the rules on the bank’s activities are clarified, but the government said only founding members will enjoy preferential rights such as drafting those rules, the report said.
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