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MPs Being Bullied Over Taiwan Function

5 May 2000


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has reacted angrily to what he describes as official bullying over attendance at a function to celebrate the election of Taiwan's new President.

He has released an e-mail sent from the Minister of Foreign Affairs' office warning MPs about attending the function, sponsored by Taiwan's representative in New Zealand, for fear of upsetting New Zealand's relationship with China.

"This sort of chin-dripping subservience is what we expect from timid bureaucrats, but it is hardly what we could have expected from a Government that says it wants an independent foreign policy, let alone an activist Minister like Mr Goff."

"New Zealand's ongoing cringing, uncritical acceptance of China's position on Taiwan is totally humiliating, and shows that our close relationship with China is really meaningless, if we are too afraid to speak for fear of offending them."

"It is high time New Zealand stood up for the rights of another small nation, and welcomed unequivocally the election of its new President."

"I will be attending the celebration function without any hesitation, and will be ignoring completely the grovelling position Mr Goff and his advisers want to adopt," he says.



---Original Message-----
From: James Bews-Hair
Sent: Friday, 5 May 2000 02:51 PM

Please note the following advise from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade on these invitations: "Ministers, MPs, and officials have been invited to a reception being hosted by the Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Frank Lin, to celebrate the inauguration of Chen Shui-bian as President of the Republic of China. "Under our "One China" policy the New Zealand Government has agreed not to have official contact with Taiwan. China accepts, however, that we should be free to develop economic and cultural links. "The inauguration of Chen Shui-bian, however, is a purely political function. The event is presented as a "Republic of China" occasion - a status that New Zealand has rejected in terms of our 'One China' policy. There is no economic or cultural dimension that can be identified to bring it within the bounds of what we have agreed we should pursue with Taiwan. Attendance by >Ministers or officials at this reception would imply some measure of support for the "Republic of China". Consequently it would be inappropriate for there to be ministerial or official attendance at the function. Ministers and officials who have received such invitations should therefore not attend. Members of Parliament are free to make personal decisions on whether they wish to attend in their personal capacities."


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