By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan protested Tuesday against the expulsion of its
delegation from an Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development steel committee meeting in Belgium after pressure from China.
Beijing reportedly said that Taiwan’s delegation was not “high-level” enough for the April 18 event, termed the “High-Level Symposium on Excess Capacity and Structural Adjustment in the Steel Sector.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said several other delegations were of the same level of Taiwan’s, and it had lodged protests with China through the Mainland Affairs Council, with Belgium through Taiwan’s office in Brussels and with the Paris-based OECD through the country’s office in France. Belgium reportedly later apologized to Taiwan, saying its vice premier, Kris Peeters, had been facing strong pressure and could only ask the Taiwanese delegation to leave.
Taiwan had been invited to the event as a “conversation partner,” but once the event started, China exerted pressure for its expulsion, and the Belgian government agreed, asking Taiwan to leave. This was the first time since the country started participating in the event in 2005 as an observer that it was forced to leave, MOFA said. [FULL STORY]