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Cablegate: Usunesco: Taiwan Seeks Participation In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

241303Z May 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary and action request: the Taiwan representative's
office in France has requested U.S. support for its efforts
to participate in planning for a tsunami early warning
system under the auspices of the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Taiwan has written to IOC
officials expressing its wish to take part in the activities
of the International Coordination Group for the Tsunami
warning system (ITSU) in the Pacific. It has also expressed
its wish to attend relevant coordination meetings for the
development of a tsunami warning system for the Indian
Ocean, including the upcoming June IOC assembly meeting in
Paris. Post seeks department guidance on how to respond to
the Taiwan representative's request, including -- if
appropriate -- guidance on channels through which Taiwan
should direct its demarche. End summary and action request.

2. Lih-Mih Hsieh of the Taiwan representative's office in
France has requested USUNESCO to assist it in its efforts to
participate in the tsunami network planning activities of
the intergovernmental oceanographic commission. In a
meeting with USUNESCO political officer, Hseih emphasized
that Taiwan is vulnerable to tsunamis and wants to be
involved so it can protect its citizenry. He underscored
that Taiwan has technical equipment -- earth observation
systems, satellites, and other resources -- that could
contribute to a tsunami warning network. Hseih noted that
the question of Taiwan's participation is viewed as a
political issue, but argued that it shouldn't be.

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3. According to Hsieh, the Taiwan representative's office
contacted UNESCO in early February to ask to attend tsunami
network planning activities as an observer, but its request
was turned down, apparently pursuant to overall UNESCO
policy concerning Taiwan. Providing a summary of Taiwan's
lobbying efforts thus far, Hsieh reported that the central
weather bureau of Taiwan has written to: dr. Laura Kong,
director of international tsunami information center at
Honolulu; Mr. Peter Pissienssens, head of IOC ocean
services; and Patricio Bernal, IOC executive secretary (text
of letter to Bernal requesting invitation to the April 14-16
Mauritius meeting reported Para 5). These letters conveyed
Taiwan's request to take part in the activities of ITSU, and
to attend international coordination meetings for the
development of tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean.

4. Hseih expressed appreciation for USG efforts to allow
Taipei to participate in the group on earth observations
(geo) third summit, Feb 14-16, 2005. He also cited as a
positive development the recent decision of the who
Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on the revision of
International Health Regulations (IHR) to include as an IHR
governing principle the "principle of universality," thus
furnishing a legal basis for Taiwan's eventual inclusion.

5. Text of letter from Chiang-lin Hsin Director-General,
Central Weather Bureau Taiwan, Republic of China to Patricio
Bernal, Executive Secretary, IOC: Dear Dr. Bernal, we
regret it very much that we could not participate in "the
international coordination meeting for the development of a
tsunami warning and mitigation system for the Indian ocean

within a global framework" held in Paris, 3-8 March ..
According to the communiqu of this meeting, we are
encouraged again to express our aspirations to join in the
second international coordination meeting at Port Louis,
republic of Mauritius on 14-16 April and contribute our
capacity to the proposed tsunami warning and mitigation
system to the global community. As mentioned in our
previous mail, the central weather bureau (CWB) in Taiwan
has been developing the "earthquake early warning system"
since 2003 with high expectations of tremendously reducing
the report time and issuing an early warning within 30
seconds by 2009 when any large inland or offshore earthquake
occurs. Furthermore, in cooperation with the U.S.
University of South California, the CWB is currently
planning on installing dart buoys in our eastern territorial
waters to detect and assess tsunami activities. Since
Taiwan has suffered from high frequency of earthquakes and
several disastrous tsunami events as well in the past, we
will be continuously endeavoring to relevant hazard
mitigation measures and research work. Although Taiwan is
not one of the member states of IOC, we, again, would like
to provide all the experience of our hazard prevention and
mitigation regime and available resources on expertise,
facilities as well as technical support to any of the
world's area concerned. The global community is now
suffering from an unprecedented catastrophe, any enhanced
action of international coordination and cooperation should
take first place. We wish that all the global people can
enjoy a living in real peace and safety. Your careful
consideration and cordial assistance will be greatly
appreciated. Sincerely yours, Chiang-lin Hsin. End text
of letter.


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