Asian Bank Admits China in New Setback for Taiwan

Times Staff Writer

In a new setback for Taiwan, China has reached an agreement under which it will be admitted to the Asian Development Bank, the last major international organization from which it had been excluded, foreign diplomats here said Friday.

Under an accord negotiated between the bank and officials in Peking, the bank will accept China as a member and no longer refer to Taiwan as the “Republic of China.” Taiwan will be allowed to stay in the organization under the name “Taipei, China"--a solution similar to the one under which both China and Taiwan took part in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

However, it is not yet certain whether Taiwan, which was one of the founding members of the bank, will accept this formula. According to the Associated Press, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement in Taipei on Friday saying that it “will never accept” any Asian Development Bank decision that would alter Taiwan’s status, name or interests in the organization.

Advances for China


It was the latest in a series of recent advances for China in its continuing efforts to isolate Taiwan.

Over the past few months, two more nations, Bolivia and Grenada, have established diplomatic ties with Peking, reducing to 24 the number of nations in the world that still recognize Taiwan.

That figure is expected to drop further soon. Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel D’Escoto will visit Peking next month, and there are reports his country will soon become the first Central American country to break with Taiwan and recognize Peking.

In East Asia itself, the largest nation with which Taiwan still has diplomatic ties is South Korea, but Seoul, too, has been making overtures toward Peking. In recent interviews, officials in Taipei said they have not decided under what name Taiwan would be willing to take part in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. “It’s still being studied,” said a Taiwan government spokesman.


Three Years of Talks

The agreement under which China will join the Asian Development Bank took three years of sometimes-acrimonious negotiations.

When China first sought entry in 1983, it said that Taiwan should be expelled from the organization. China later retreated from this position, but there were further disputes over what name should be used for the government in Taipei.

U.S. officials had supported China’s admission to the bank under conditions that would also permit continued participation by Taiwan. “Admission of the People’s Republic of China is very important, given China’s increasingly important role in the Asian economy,” one U.S. official explained Friday.


The New China News Agency reported Friday that China and the Asian Development Bank had reached an understanding under which the designation “Taipei, China” could be used for Taiwan.