Taiwan, hit by its worst typhoon in 50 years in August, has found a culprit for the disaster that killed about 770 people and begun using it to get precious attention overseas where the island is usually overlooked in favour of its giant political rival China.
Global warming is taking blame for Morakot, which was freakish as Taiwan’s only major typhoon of the year and because it lingered instead of blowing straight through. The island’s foreign ministry says that as global warming’s victim it should get to participate in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in time for its December talks in Copenhagen. Sixteen countries have already voiced support.
“We are a victim of this problem. It’s closely related to the public’s economic interests,” said Yang Kuo-tung, director general of the foreign ministry’s treaties and legal affairs. Morakot’s incessant rain caused agricultural losses of T$16.47 billion ($510 million). ”It’s no laughing matter.”
But Taiwan’s bid for participation faces a new kind of storm despite recent detente with China, a powerful veto-wielding Security Council member. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949 and blocked more than a decade worth of applications to enter the United Nations on grounds that the self-ruled island lacks statehood.
Taiwan dropped an the annual bid to join the whole United Nations this year to avoid upsetting China, but figures that knocking at the door of a small U.N. agency would cause little stir, especially with the woes of Morakot in its back pocket. Taiwan would both teach and learn as a Convention participant, Yang said.