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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan joining the UN a vital task

Taiwan joining the UN a vital task

On Sept. 22, the UN General Assembly wound up its 78th annual General Debate in New York City, again excluding Taiwan.

However, most of the nation’s diplomatic allies voiced their support for allowing Taiwan to participate in the UN system.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew, as well as Belizean Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay, made similar appeals in their respective addresses. Paraguayan President Santiago Pena, who visited Taiwan in July as president-elect, said that the world body should reflect on “participatory, democratic and equitable practices” in line with the UN Charter.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed added her voice to the appeals, saying that the exclusion of anyone harms efforts to achieve global development goals.

“Every person matters, whether it’s Taiwan or otherwise. And I think it’s really important for member states to find a solution,” she said.

It has always been Taiwan’s national goal to participate in the UN. In an interview with Foreign Policy, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that it would be “very hard” for Taiwan to achieve membership, but that there was still hope.”

“I think there is growing attention from the international community that there has to be peace between Taiwan and China and the best forum to discuss this issue will be the UN,” Wu said. “So, keeping Taiwan out of the UN is immoral, is unjust and is something that we have to make change to.”

As China continues its saber-rattling, Wu’s remarks ring true.

Taiwan is excluded under UN Resolution 2758 of 1971, which recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate representative of China to the UN.

However, even before that happened, supporters of Taiwan had said that it should focus on political reform to establish a new free and democratic nation, and “rejoin” the UN.

On Sept. 24, the National Taiwan University Student Association hosted a forum to commemorate the passing of Taiwanese democracy pioneer Peng Ming-min (彭明敏) and his 1964 manifesto A Declaration of Formosan Self-Salvation, in which he proposed the concept of Taiwanese nationhood.

The declaration stipulates that one of the goals is to rejoin the UN as a member of the free world, and establish diplomatic relations with other peace-loving countries and work for world peace together.

As he had been an adviser to Taiwan’s delegation to the UN, Peng firmly believed that the most pressing task for Taiwan was to cast aside distinctions between ethnic Taiwanese and mainlanders, unite as one people to found a new nation with a new constitution, and rejoin the UN as an independent country.

Unfortunately, Peng was unable to witness Taiwan’s normalization as a bona fide nation state and 60 years later, it is still striving to realize his unfinished dream.

Even though the road to joining the UN is paved with obstacles and difficulties, Taiwan should not give up, but appeal to the global community incessantly. The exclusion of a highly developed society with a population of 23 million from the UN is unjust, unfair and violates the universal values of the UN Charter.

For this, the US House of Representatives in July passed the Taiwan International Solidarity Act, which states that Resolution 2758 does not apply to Taiwan.

When the UN passed the resolution, it did not exclude Taiwan from participating and did not address the issue of representation of Taiwan and its people in the UN or any related organizations, nor did it take a position on the relationship between China and Taiwan or include any statement pertaining to Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Excluding Taiwan undermines world peace. Taiwan’s participation has never been more crucial, especially in regard to geopolitical trends in the global community. Before the General Assembly this year, the cochairs of the US Congressional Taiwan Caucus issued a joint statement reiterating its “steadfast support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations” and rejected prior actions by the UN to bar Taiwan from meaningful participation, especially the adoption of Resolution 2758.

On behalf of the G7 foreign ministers, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoko Kamikawa underscored their collective support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations.

In an opinion piece published by USA Today on Sept. 20, Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) urged the global community to “stop following China,” as the UN is “ruled by the peoples, not authoritarian regimes.”

She also expressed the hope that the UN and other international organizations “will soon correct their Taiwan policy and provide equal opportunity for participation to the people of Taiwan.”

At the General Assembly on Sept. 19, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy repeated Kyiv’s stance that Moscow’s veto power belonged to the former Soviet Union — one of the victors of World War II after which the UN was created — and not to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“Veto power in the hands of the aggressor is what has pushed the UN into deadlock,” Zelenskiy said, adding that it is impossible for the global body to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of Moscow’s ability to veto any effort or initiative at the Security Council.

As permanent members of the Security Council, China, France, Russia, the UK and the US wield veto power. The rule has been criticized for its undemocratic nature, as a single country can prevent the council from taking action. This structural flaw is the reason behind the UN’s inability to tackle many problems and why it is long overdue for reform.

That Russia and the People’s Republic of China, which was founded after World War II, possess veto power underlines how the 193-member international organization has not shaken off the yoke of authoritative regimes.

To make matters worse, only US President Joe Biden addressed the UN gathering, as the other four founding, permanent council members were conspicuously absent, leading to questions about how much the UN can hope to achieve.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi’s (王毅) absence caused murmurs, with speculation that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in disarray after former minister Qin Gang’s (秦剛) sudden departure.

Former New York mayor Edward Koch once called the UN a “cesspool,” while former US senator Jesse Helms once described UN contributions as “pouring money down foreign rat holes.”

This shows that a complete overhaul of the almost 80-year-old organization is long overdue.

Translated by Rita Wang

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2023/10/11

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A protester from Changhua County smears his face with mud yesterday during a demonstration outside the Executive Yuan against the fourth phase of the Central Taiwan Science Park development project.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

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“Stop the water robbery right now,” the 300 farmers — mostly from Changhua County’s Sijhou Township (溪州) — and their supporters shouted in anger.