Taiwan protests blockage of its delegation by Chinese at Perth meeting

Taipei--The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) lodged a protest Wednesday with China after Chinese delegates blocked Taiwan from participating in a conflict diamonds meeting in Perth, Australia, Monday.

Participants at the Kimberley Process meeting hosted by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the actions of the Chinese delegates as "disgusting" and "extraordinary," according to a Sydney Morning Herald report on Wednesday

The Chinese delegates "shouted over the welcome to country ceremony and forced the suspension of proceedings," the report said.

The Chinese delegation sought to prevent a Taiwanese group from attending the meeting hosted by Julie Bishop in Perth on Monday, according to the report.

Eventually, the Taiwan delegates were asked to leave.

"It was disgusting," the paper quoted an unnamed high-level Australian attendee as saying. "It was extraordinary, so uncalled for and so inappropriate, and so disrespectful."

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang defended the Chinese delegates' move as reasonable, saying it was in compliance with the rules, as Taiwan was neither a formal member nor an observer of the Kimberly Process meeting.

Refuting Geng's statement, the MAC said the Taiwanese delegation was invited to attend the annual meeting and that there was precedent. What Geng said "was not true," the MAC added.

The Kimberley Process is an international meeting first convened in 2000 with the aim of stopping the trade in conflict diamonds and preventing the diamond trade from funding violence by insurgent movements.

Taiwan was granted observer status in 2007.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel