Taiwan will not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital: official

12/13/2017 07:33 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 13 (CNA) Taiwan has no plan to follow the United States' lead and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and does not intend to move its representative office in Israel from Tel Aviv, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said Wednesday.

Antonio Chen (陳俊賢), director-general of the ministry's Department of West Asian and African Affairs, made the remarks in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on Dec. 6 that the United States formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to relocate its embassy there.

When asked by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) at a legislative hearing whether Taiwan recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Chen said "No," adding that the representative office in Israel remains in Tel Aviv.

Chen said that MOFA's website states that Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital but notes that this is disputed. "Our representative office is in Tel Aviv," Chen reaffirmed.

"Now that the U.S. plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, will Taiwan follow the U.S. example?" Tsai asked.

"No," Chen answered categorically.

Other than the U.S., no other country in the world recognizes Jerusalem as belonging exclusively to Israel and Taiwan will adhere to the majority opinion of the international community, Chen said.

Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked controversy as the status of Jerusalem has long been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The decision has also been criticized as a reversal of the U.S.' longstanding policy that the status of Jerusalem must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

Although the Czech Republic and Russia have indicated they recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, they still consider the status of Jerusalem to be unresolved, according to Chen.

When asked how the ministry views the Palestinian territories, Chen called them a unique region in the world, saying that while the Palestinians held the status of an observer entity at the United Nations, they have yet to receive statehood recognition from the world body.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)


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