Tuvalu voices support for Taiwan at U.N. climate change conference

12/12/2019 01:53 PM
Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano (left). Photo taken from the website of the Embassy of Tuvalu in Taipei at www.taiwanembassy.org/tv
Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano (left). Photo taken from the website of the Embassy of Tuvalu in Taipei at www.taiwanembassy.org/tv

Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 12 (CNA) Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano spoke up for Taiwan Wednesday at the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference, in support of the nation's participation in the annual meeting.

Natano was the second of several world leaders who made statements at the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hosted by Chile in Madrid, Spain, calling on the international community to work together to address climate change as a matter of urgency.

He said Tuvalu is making every effort to ensure the country survives, despite its vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Tuvalu is exploring innovations including the building of artificial islands, Natano said, but "we cannot do this alone. We need the support of the international community to provide financial support and technical know-how."

In his speech, Natano talked about Taiwan, indicating that all nations must contribute to the efforts to address climate change.

In this context, one country is not permitted to participate in the process -- the Republic of China (Taiwan), he noted,

"We must open the door and allow Taiwan to become a full member of the climate change community and to participate as a party to the conferencing and the Paris Agreement."

He also called on the participants to recognize the efforts Taiwan is making to contribute to addressing climate change and to allow the country a voice in the forum.

"No one should be left behind," Natano added.

In a telephone interview with CNA after the meeting, Natano expressed hope that more nations will join the action to combat climate change and help Tuvalu and other low-lying countries to tackle relevant issues.

Natano, who took office in September, said Tuvalu has robust relations with Taiwan and will continue bilateral ties, saying that Tuvalu hopes the U.N. will recognize the ROC as an independent country.

Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe said in Taiwan in November that Natano will visit Taiwan, perhaps in April.

Natano told CNA that he is planning to visit Taiwan next year, but has yet to decide on a date.

He noted that Kofe has discussed several issues with Taiwan during his visit in November.

 “Maybe when we receive concrete information from Taiwan on the issues they discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by then I would decide when to visit Taiwan,” Natano said.

He said he is very busy next year as the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum nations, but will spare time to visit Taiwan.

Commenting on a proposal by Kofe during his November visit that Tuvalu and Taiwan's other Pacific allies should form an alliance to support Taiwan and act against China's interference in the region, Natano said this is a good idea.

He added his hope that Taiwan's Pacific allies will strengthen their ties and share information, and that other countries will join the alliance.

Taiwan has only 15 diplomatic allies, four of which are in the Pacific region: the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Evelyn Kao)


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