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Taiwan explains diplomatic hardship to future leaders of the world

2012/08/26 17:52:32

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) "Why is Taiwan a member of the World Trade Organization and not a member of the United Nations?" was just one of a handful of questions posed by international students attending the 2012 Asia Conference in Taipei Sunday.

Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih, who spoke at the five-day academic forum that will end Aug. 28, gave a 15-minute introduction on Taiwan's diplomatic history to about 500 university students from around the world.

Her brief talk ranged from Taiwan's loss of its United Nations membership in 1971 because of China's admission to the international body that year to recent developments across the Taiwan Strait that have seen closer economic ties between the two sides.

Shih said she hoped that by explaining Taiwan's diplomatic hardships to these future leaders that Taiwan would gain more friends in the international community.

The conference, organized by the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations under the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is now in its 21st year since being launched in Taipei in 1992 when the Cold War was just drawing to a close.

The students are scheduled to visit "Yesterday's World," a theme park at a recreation center in Taipei, Monday to see traditional Taiwanese performances including Taiwanese opera, and aboriginal dances.

In addition to seminars and speeches, the organizers have also arranged tours to the Legislative Yuan, the Central News Agency, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and the National Theater and Concert Hall.

The organizers said they have also invited NBA star Jeremy Lin, a Harvard graduate, to attend an entertainment night on Aug. 28.

Lin has replied that he is interested in joining the event but is not sure if he can fit it into his Asia tour schedule, they said.

(By Chen Chih-wei and Ann Chen)