C O N F I D E N T I A L MUSCAT 000298
STATE FOR INR/B, EAP/TC, NEA/ARPI, IO/T
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2016
TAGS: PREL PINR EFIS EPET TW MU
SUBJECT: TAIWAN REP ON WHO, OMAN TIES
REF: 04 STATE 102782
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III.
Reason: 1.4 (b, d).
Â¶1. (U) See bio notes in para 4.
Â¶2. (C) In a February 28 meeting in a neutral location, Paul
Yung-feng Hsu, head of the local "Taipei Economic and
Cultural Office," solicited Pol/Econ Chief's help to
encourage Oman to support Taiwan's bid for observer status at
the World Health Assembly in May. P/E Chief replied that no
action could be undertaken without instruction from
Washington (e.g., reftel). Hsu did not indicate whether
Taipei was determined to seek a formal vote on the matter,
unlike in 2005 when it stepped back following the 2004
defeat. Hsu noted that Oman has been largely silent
regarding its position, though Kuwait is a vocal opponent of
Â¶3. (C) Hsu generally described Oman's attitude toward Taiwan
in negative terms. Taiwan, he said, ranks fifth among
importers of Omani petroleum (the PRC ranks first), but the
tonnage pales in comparison to oil imports from Saudi Arabia
and others. Taiwan, he said, considered buying Omani LNG,
but reached a long-term offtake agreement with Qatar instead.
There is little Taiwanese investment in Oman, as UAE, India
and other nearby states have proven far more "hospitable."
He said a fleet of 70 Taiwanese fishing vessels regularly buy
Omani permits to catch tuna. Hsu said he has very little
access or engagement with the Omani government, and knew the
titles but not names of key MFA officials.
Â¶4. (C) Hsu has a decent command of English. Born in 1946, he
is nearing retirement age. He previously served in the U.S.
and Nigeria, among other postings. His wife is a dual U.S.
citizen; he has two sons living in Kansas and a daughter
pursuing an MBA at the University of Rochester (New York
state). Hsu appeared sympathetic to Taiwanese President
Chen's ruling party.