Taiwan denies knowledge of Iran plans for office in Taipei
Taiwan on Monday denied knowledge of plans by Iran to look into whether it could open a representative office and branches of its banks in Taipei. ( dpa )
"The Foreign Ministry has never heard of it. We will try to find out where the news came from," the Foreign Ministry's acting spokeswoman, Phoebe Yeh, told the Central News Agency (CNA).
" Taiwan has civilian economic and trade contacts with Iran and the Bureau of Foreign Trade has personnel in Iran. That's all the contacts we have with Iran," she added.
The ministry was responding to a report in Monday's German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, which said Iran was mulling opening an economic and cultural representative office as well as banks in Taiwan.
Quoting intelligence intercepted by the West, the news magazine also said Iran's Supreme National Security Council had decided to buy border control equipment and bio identification technology from Taiwan to help Tehran monitor the movements of its citizens.
The report said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered planned deal with Taiwan be kept secret.
Iran's opening up links with Taiwan would irritate China, which has diplomatic relations with Tehran and views Taiwan as a breakaway Chinese province.
Taiwan is recognized by only 23 mostly small nations but dozens of countries, including the United States, Russia, India and Brazil - have exchanged trade missions with Taiwan while maintaining formal ties with Beijing.
Last month Taiwan opened a Taiwan Commercial Office in Libya despite lack of diplomatic ties. The move followed a trip to Taipei by Saif Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, in January 2006, and President Chen Shui-bian's visit to Libya in May the same year.