Taipei, August 1:

In another attempt to ease its diplomatic isolation, Taiwan today announced the formation of an international NGO body grouping its diplomatic allies and representatives from the United States, Japan and Australia. Vice President Annette Lu said that after three years of preparations, the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU) would be inaugurated in Taipei on August 14. It will be made up of representatives from non-governmental organisations. Lu acknowledged that it would be unrealistic for Taiwan to play a pivotal role in an inter-governmental grouping. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and resists Taipei’s attempts to forge diplomatic relations with overseas states. It threatens to invade if Taiwan formally declares independence. Lu said there had been no signs that China would move to boycott the prospective international grouping.