Co-Chairs & UK parliamentarians’ letter to IELTS urging the correction of Taiwan’s designation

28 January 2019

The IELTS Global Partnership
British Council
10 Spring Gardens
London SW1A 2BN

Dear IELTS Global Partnership,

We are writing to you regarding your recent decision in October to change the designation of Taiwan on your website from ‘Taiwan’ to ‘Taiwan, China’. We are surprised to learn of your decision, as the designation ‘Taiwan, China’ is not only erroneous but also contrary to UK Government policy, and therefore request immediate correction to ‘Taiwan’.

Your changed designation is inaccurate and misleading as Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China. It is also contrary to the UK Government’s longstanding policy to refer to Taiwan as simply ‘Taiwan’, as Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign Commonwealth Office, publicly stated on 10 July. The reason for your decision therefore remains puzzling, as it is neither based on fact nor is it in line with the UK’s official position.

The change has resulted in great confusion and protest among Taiwanese people and the IELTS community. Many Taiwanese students and professionals who take the IELTS feel their rights and nationality are being sacrificed.

The decision follows pressure from China and is based on commercial interest. Although IELTS is a private enterprise, it should not have the terms of its business dictated by a foreign government. Succumbing to this political pressure undermines our democratic principles and harms the free operations of international business.

UK-Taiwanese educational relations are steadily increasing, with approximately 12,000 Taiwanese studying in the UK as of 2017. For many Taiwanese students and professionals, taking the IELTS is an essential stepping stone to study and work in the UK. If IELTS were to change the designation to ‘Taiwan’, it may well allow the UK to continue increasing its educational exchanges with Taiwan.

We urge you to reconsider your decision and amend the IELTS website to the previous and proper designation of simply ‘Taiwan’.

Yours sincerely,

evans    Rogan
Nigel Evans MP                             Lord Rogan                                                               

Co-Chairs of British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group

Co-Signatories:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns
Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom
Baroness Barker
Lord Bethell
Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Lord Dholakia
Baroness D’Souza
Lord Foster of Bath
Baroness Garden of Frognal
Lord Gilbert of Panteg
Baroness Harris of Richmond
Lord Kilclooney
Baroness Ludford
Lord Northbrook
Baroness Northover
Lord Purvis of Tweed
Lord Rennard
Lord Steel of Aikwood
Lord Truscott

Sir David Amess MP
Bob Blackman MP
Sir Graham Brady MP
Sarah Champion MP
Rosie Cooper MP
Nigel Dodds MP
Mike Gapes MP
Robert Halfon MP
Stephen Hepburn MP
Philip Hollobone MP
George Howarth MP
Andrea Jenkyns MP
Ian Lucas MP
Angus MacNeil MP
Scott Mann MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
Stephen Metcalfe MP
Nigel Mills MP
Stephen Morgan MP
Sheryll Murray MP
Bob Neill MP
Andrew Rosindell MP
Henry Smith MP
Bob Stewart MP
Sir Demond Swayne MP
Stephen Timms MP

C.c.
1. Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
2. Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council

 

Question / China: Taiwan

Q Asked by Lord Dholakia
Asked on: 14 January 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Taiwan / HL12785

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of the People’s Republic of China about their “one country, two systems” policy towards Taiwan.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The British Government has routine discussions with the People’s Republic of China on the issue of Taiwan, such as during the Foreign Secretary’s UK-China Strategic Dialogue (July 2018). We maintain that the issue should be settled through constructive dialogue, in line with the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Question / China: Taiwan

Q Asked by Lord Dholakia
Asked on: 14 January 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Taiwan / HL12786

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of any risks to regional peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 23 January 2019

In his 2 January speech, Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged Taiwan to accept reunification with China, restating China’s long-held position that it can use all necessary measures, including force, to secure this aim. We oppose any action which raises tensions in the region and hinders the chances of peaceful settlement of any issues. In line with our longstanding position on Taiwan we encourage Taiwan and China to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve this issue, taking into account the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Lord Rennard’s Letter to the Times

Member of British-Taiwanese APPG Lord Rennard’s letter to the Times in response to their editorial:

Sir,

China’s behaviour towards Taiwan (Bully in Beijing, Times 3rd January 2019) highlights a major threat to principles of self-determination, democracy and human rights that should be resisted firmly by all countries governed by those values.

China’s treatment of Tibet, the massacre in Tianneman Square, and its refusal to uphold principles of the Basic Law that was supposed to allow Hong Kong a different system to that of the authoritarian Chinese, all serve to show why Taiwan’s 23 million citizens are right to be more than wary of an enforced ‘re-unification’. China’s behaviour is a threat to peace.

In contrast, Taiwan has provided a model as to how a dictatorship can peacefully progress to a multi-party democracy with rival parties respecting the outcome of elections determined by the will of the people.

China’s efforts to win friends and influence would be better served by respecting human rights and principles such as freedom of speech at home and abroad.

Yours etc.
Lord Rennard
Liberal Democrat
House of Lords,
London SW1A 0PW

Co-Chairs’ Joint Statement on President Tsai’s Speech on 2 January

As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we wholly support Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s firm position to bolster Taiwan as a fully-fledged democracy which shares understanding on universal values such as freedom, respect for human rights, and the rule of law with the UK and countries around the world. We also understand that the vast majority of people in Taiwan form a consensus that resolutely opposes “one country, two systems”.

We regard any threat or intimidation in the Taiwan Strait as irresponsible, and want to ensure that action taken in the Taiwan Strait does not threaten cross-strait relations and status quo. Maintaining prosperity and stability in the East Asian region is in the common interest of all parties concerned, we therefore wish to see China and Taiwan cooperate fully on areas of common interest, while respecting the firm commitment of Taiwan’s 23 million people to freedom and democracy.

In the future, we look forward to China and Taiwan working together to ensure respect on both sides, particularly in the ability for both countries to have their voices heard in international fora such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Therefore, we call on China and Taiwan to restore dialogue and consultations with each other on the basis of mutual respect in order to ensure regional peace and stability.

evans    Rogan
Nigel Evans MP                             Lord Rogan                                                               

Posted on 11 January 2019 at 9.22 am

Statement on supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in INTERPOL General Assembly 2018

As the Co-Chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we have for many years supported Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations where Taiwan can make concrete contributions, including INTERPOL. Therefore, we were dismayed to learn that Taiwan has yet to be invited to participate in the upcoming 87th INTERPOL General Assembly in Dubai as an observer due to unnecessary political considerations. We believe this will in turn obstruct the collective interests of the international community.

According to Article 2 of INTERPOL’s Constitution, INTERPOL’s aims are ‘to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities…’ Transnational crime is rampant in today’s globalized world, thus we must establish a reliable and seamless global security network. To this end, the cooperation of police agencies from all over the world is needed, and Taiwan’s presence is essential to the realization of this objective.

With a population of 23.5 million people, Taiwan is the world’s 22nd-largest economy and 17th-largest exporting country. Connecting Northeast and Southeast Asia, Taiwan serves as a hub for the movement of capital, goods, and people, with around 66 million passengers traveling through it in 2017 alone. Taiwan’s ability in sharing international security intelligence and combatting cross-border crime would contribute to the global security and counter terrorism efforts. At the same time, Taiwan needs to participate in INTERPOL General Assembly and gain direct access to the I-24/7 Global Police Communications System to ensure it has the ability and up-to-date knowledge to implement security checks at its borders and fight terrorism, human trafficking, and other transnational crimes.

We support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in INTERPOL, including in its General Assembly as an observer and in its meetings, mechanisms, and activities. We also support Taiwan to gain access to the I-24/7 Global Police Communications System and partake in key training programs, in order to fill the gap in the global security network and create together a safer world.

evans    Rogan
Nigel Evans MP                                 Lord Rogan                                                               

Posted on 2 November 2018 at 10.57 am

Co Chairs’ Joint Statement in Support of the Resumption of Taiwan’s Hosting Right of East Asian Youth Games

As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we are dismayed to learn that members of East Asian Olympic Committee (EAOC) voted in an extraordinary Council meeting in Beijing on 24 July to revoke the right of Taichung City to host the first-ever East Asian Youth Games (EAYG) in Taiwan from 24 to 31 August in 2019.

This resolution not only ignores the rights of the 2,300 athletes and delegation members from the nine countries and regions in East Asia, but also violates the Olympic spirit that athletes from countries and regions around the world should conduct exchanges through fair competition. It also violates the EAOC’s Constitution, which stipulated “to promote the Olympic Movement in East Asia” as its mission.

Moreover, the Taichung City Government has always honoured the Host City Contract and not been informed of any failures to fulfil any of its contractual obligations over the past three years. Also, the EAOC never mentioned what terms were allegedly violated in the letter sent to the Taichung City Government on 25 July.

The world of sports has no borders, and athletic exchanges are the ideal venue to help different countries and peoples get to know each other and promote international harmony. Since being awarded the hosting right in 2014, the Taichung City Government has been preparing for the EAYG. With the date of the competition approaching, China’s boycott to pressure the EAOC into passing a resolution to cancel the Games is hasty and extremely unfair to the host city.

For many years China’s government has repeatedly used every means at its disposal to limit Taiwan’s space for international participation. From the recent case of pressuring international airlines to change Taiwan’s designation to this unfair resolution made by the EAOC, it is obvious that China’s politically motivated pressure has expanded to non-political areas. Thus, in order to protect the rights of athletes as well as safeguard the Olympic spirit, there is a need for EAOC Council to resolve this dispute with Taiwan through amicable consultation and resume the hosting right of Taichung City as soon as possible.

evans    Rogan
Nigel Evans MP                             Lord Rogan   

Statement on M503 Flight Route’s Impact to the Cross-Strait Status Quo

As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we are dismayed to learn that China’s civil aviation authority unilaterally announced on 4 January 2018 that it would activate four air routes along its southeast coast without prior consultation with Taiwan. The new northbound M503 route with its three east-west extension routes, which are critically close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, are very likely to endanger aviation safety and security and to interfere with flight services in Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR).

We regarded the unilateral move by China as an irresponsible act that not only seriously affects aviation safety but also damages the cross-strait status quo. Beijing’s expansion of civil aviation routes has violated the consensus reached between Taiwan and China in 2015. Thus, we consider this violation in a way to change the cross-strait status quo. Moreover, there is possibility that a potential risk of military crisis could emerge in the Taiwan Strait, constituting a threat to the peace and security of the East Asia region.

According to Document No. 9426 of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), flight routes such as M503 and its extensions should only be launched following consultations with neighboring parties. Thus, China’s unilateral launch of new flight routes violates both ICAO regulations and international norms.

As ensuring aviation safety and maintaining peace and stability in the region remain the common concern of all parties concerned, we support the maintenance of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and urge China to put an end immediately to its use of the above-mentioned air routes. There is a need for China to give priority to restoring negotiations with Taiwan on the flight paths as soon as possible.

Steel    evans
Lord Steel of Aikwood                                             Nigel Evans MP

The Statement from Co-Chairs

Dear friends,

As the co-chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, we have for many years sought to promote the bilateral relationship between Taiwan and the UK. In particular we have supported Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as we believe this to be in the interests of the UK and the wider world.

Therefore we were dismayed to learn that Taiwan was not invited by the president of the ICAO Council to attend the 39th ICAO Assembly this year. We believe that the international community has lost out as a result.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation established the ICAO, with an objective of “…the planning and development of international air transport so as to …meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport.”

Taiwan’s Flight Information Region (FIR) covers 180,000 square nautical miles and provides services to nearly 1.53 million controlled flights carrying 58 million travellers entering, leaving, or transiting through Taiwan every year. The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport – the main international gateway – was ranked 11th and 5th, respectively, in terms of passenger and cargo volumes. Taiwan needs to participate in the ICAO Assembly to ensure it can comply with up to date standards, and receive technical and academic assistance from the ICAO.

We support Taiwan’s continued attendance at the ICAO Assembly and other regional meetings. Taiwan, with 74 airlines offering services to and from the island, operates passenger and cargo flights on 301 routes and connects 135 cities around the world. It cannot be allowed to become a “gap,” and be left outside the global aviation networks.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID STEEL (Lord Steel of Aikwood)
evans
faulkner

 

Regional Visit: Manchester

A Taiwanese business delegation led by Representative Liu visited Manchester in early March to promote regional economic links between the UK and Taiwan.

The trip, organised by UKTI and regional authorities in Manchester, forms part of a series of visits at sites across the UK which aim to provide small and medium sized enterprises access to the Taiwanese market.

The delegation met representatives at both Manchester City Government and Trafford Council, while also paying visits to various other institu-tions and companies, including the BBC, the University of Manchester, the Manchester Investment Development Agency Service (MIDAS), Kratos Analytical and Skylab.

The visit was welcomed by Clive Drinkwater, head of UKTI’s Northwest Office, who hailed Taiwan’s economic development and expressed his hopes for greater trade opportunities between the two countries, a sentiment jointly expressed by Ambassador Liu.

The trip comes amid increasing development in the UK-Taiwan bilateral relationship, which now amounts to £5 billion. Overall, Taiwan’s direct business collaboration with local regions within the UK, looks set to further enhance the relations of both countries.