Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Taipei, April 23 by Deborah Kuo, CNA

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Ying-mao Kau, who was appointed by President Chen Shui-bian last week to serve as Taiwan's representative to the European Union and Belgium, said Sunday that he will strive to develop Taiwan's strategic dialogue partnership with Europe.

Kau said the government has decided to increase interaction between Taiwan and European countries, as the region has become as strategically significant as the United States and Japan have traditionally been to Taiwan.

He said that as the development of Taiwan's relations with the United States and Japan has become stable and mature, the country should pay closer attention to and invest more resources in relations with Europe.

He added that after he assumes his new post -- probably in June or July after this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) slated for May 22-27 -- he will strive to implement strategic dialogue between Europe and Taiwan in a bid to keep Europe's governments fully abreast of what is going on in East Asia.

Kau claimed that "most European countries lack strategic perspectives" toward East Asia, except for their colonial legacy and history in this part of the world.
Kau, who has been in charge of Taiwan's efforts to join the WHA -- the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) -- over the past five years, said that all European countries respect democracy and human rights, a situation that provides a "niche" for Taiwan in terms of cementing bilateral ties.

Taiwan must let the European Union understand that after the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, China's rise is a tremendous challenge to the E.U. if the rise is not peaceful.

Kau will succeed Chen Chien-jen, who is set to retire after a long diplomatic career.

Kau, 72, holds a bachelor's degree in politics from National Taiwan University and a master's degree and doctorate in comparative politics and international relations from Cornell University.

Before joining the Foreign Ministry in 2002, he was a professor of politics at Brown University in the United States, chairman of the Association of Chinese Social Scientists in North America, an advisor of the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Security Council.


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