TAIWAN SAYS NAURU OWES MORE THAN $12 MILLION

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By Sofia Wu

TAIPEI, Taiwan (July 23, 2002 – Central News Agency)---The Republic of China [ROC] will not rule out the possibility of taking Nauru to court if it declines to repay a $12.1 million debt after it switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, an official said Tuesday.

Yang Tzu-pao, Secretary General of the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the ROC loaned the tiny South Pacific island nation $12.51 million in 1994 to build a luxury tourist hotel -- the Hotel Meneng Nauru.

The Nauruan government has only repaid about $410,000 of the loan over the years, Yang said.

According to a contract signed by the two countries, Yang said, the ROC can demand that Nauru immediately repay its outstanding debt to Taiwan if it violates the contract.

"As Nauru's decision to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing constitutes a stark violation of its loan contract with us, we have the right to immediately ask Nauru to repay the debt," Yang explained.

As Nauru has used one of its government-owned commercial buildings in Saipan -- a small island in the South Pacific east of the Philippine island of Luzon -- as collateral, Yang said the ROC government can certainly secure debt repayment from Nauru.

Noting that Saipan is a U.S. territory, Yang said if Nauru refuses to repay its debt, the ICDF could take the case to a New York court. "We can ask the court to impound and auction the collateral," he added.

The ROC formally cut off diplomatic ties with Nauru Tuesday, two days after the island state recognized Beijing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement after the expiry of its 24- hour "ultimatum" demanding a "100 percent clear statement" from Nauru's Cabinet denying the agreement signed by President Rene Harris with a Beijing official in Hong Kong Sunday on the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties.

 

TAIWAN SEVERS TIES WITH NAURU, SAYS ISLAND TO "REAP CONSEQUENCES" OF SPLIT

By Lillian Wu

TAIPEI, Taiwan (July 23, 2002 – Central News Agency)--- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Tuesday that the Republic of China [ROC] will sever diplomatic relations with Nauru, two days after the Pacific island state switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

MOFA spokeswoman Chang Siao-yuh made the statement after the ROC's ultimatum to Nauru to reconfirm its ties with Taipei expired at 10 a.m.

"The Nauruan government should take full responsibility and reap the consequences for turning its back on the Republic of China," Chang said.

The ministry will terminate all agreements signed between the two countries as well as cooperation relations. It will also close the ROC embassy in Nauru, terminate all assistance programs and recall its missions in the country, she added.

Chang noted that since the ROC established full diplomatic ties with Nauru in May 1980, it has assisted the island nation in improving its water, electricity and telecommunications systems, as well as helped it renovate its state-owned Menen hotel, and construct public housing, a stadium and an athletes' village.

The ROC government has also had a three-member agricultural mission in Nauru since April 1992, helping Nauru improve its agricultural and aquaculture techniques, she said, adding that the ROC government has "contributed a great deal to the welfare of the Nauruan people through its assistance programs, demonstrating the friendship of the ROC towards the Nauruan people." However, she said, "Nauruan President Rene Harris has harbored illusions about mainland China, and has used the Beijing card to pressure the ROC." Therefore, she added, "the ROC government has, for the sake of the nation's interests and dignity, decided to terminate diplomatic relations with Nauru." Chang said that the ROC government has always wanted to cooperate with its diplomatic allies on a variety of projects in the hopes of promoting mutual prosperity, adding that it will continue to do so in the future.

But she also reaffirmed that the government will not engage in a meaningless "dollar diplomacy" competition with Beijing to entice its allies at the expense of the Taiwan taxpayer.

Faced with Beijing's continuing campaign to stifle Taiwan internationally, the ROC government and people will be even more "determined" to continue to promote itself in the international community, she pointed out.

"For the sake of upholding the nation's interests and the people's welfare, the ROC government will not budge," she said.

After the ROC severs diplomatic ties with Nauru, it will have a total of 27 diplomatic allies around the world.

 

UPSET TAIWAN CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST NAURU OVER LOAN

TAIPEI, Taiwan (July 24, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---The Taiwan government is considering legal action to force Nauru to repay a US$ 12.51 million loan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said.

The announcement came as the Central News Agency reported that members of the legislature were generally supportive of Taiwan cutting diplomatic relations with Nauru.

Taiwan had given Nauru until yesterday to reconfirm its ties with Taiwan.

This followed reports Nauru President Rene Harris signed a join communiqué with China's Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong in Hong Kong and promised to drop diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of mainland China.

Foreign Minister Eugene Chien said Taiwan would break off ties with Nauru unless it repudiated unequivocally the communiqué inked by Harris, the Central News Agency reported.

China regards Taiwan as a rebel island province and works to isolate it internationally.

The Central News Agency said Chien noted that Beijing engineered the defection of cash-strapped Nauru with promises of US$ 130 million in grants.

He questioned Beijing's wisdom in buying ties with the tiny island state, which has a population of about 10,000 and an area of 21 square kilometers (8.4 square miles), especially when many mainland Chinese are living below the poverty line and millions are out of work, the news agency reported.

Taiwan values its ties with all countries and has been done its best to help less-developed states, the minister said. But when it comes to foreign aid, Taiwan cuts its coat according to its cloth rather than debasing itself by entering into a price war with Beijing, he said.

This incident should drive home to the public Beijing's hostility toward Taiwan, and the Foreign Ministry will adjust its diplomatic strategy accordingly, Chien continued.

"The ROC (Republic of China, the Taiwanese government's official name) is a rose not to be crushed," the minister said.

Earlier in the day, Chen Bo-jo, director of East Asian and Pacific Affairs under the Foreign Ministry, said in a background briefing that Nauru could recognize both Taiwan (Republic of China) and the People's Republic of China concurrently, if Nauru's acting president and Cabinet denounce the communiqué signed by President Harris.

The foreign minister checked with the Nauru authorities after being caught off-guard by the announcement from Beijing that Nauru had given up Taipei in favor of Beijing. He said he was assured early Monday that the ties remained unchanged.

The Nauru Cabinet even showed Taiwan Chargé d'Affaires Guo Shen-ming a copy of the country's constitution to convince him that it has the final say in the matter, he said.

However, Chen said, his ministry asked Nauru to give a definite reply by declaring the communiqué signed by Harris null and void.

Chen said there are still five allies of Taiwan in the Pacific, which could be targets of Beijing's "charm offensive." He said his ministry is taking precautionary measures to prevent them from following Nauru's lead.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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