Taiwan should be afforded equal rights and due dignity to participate in the UN system

  • 2022-09-26
  • Andrew H.C. Lee is Representative of Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia

Recently, China has deliberately escalated its military intimidation against Taiwan and attempted to unilaterally alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. This has violated the prohibition on the use of force and the principle of settling disputes by peaceful means as set forth in the United Nations Charter. China’s actions have sparked grave concern among the international community. 

On August 23, Permanent Representatives to the UN of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies issued a joint statement voicing support for Taiwan and advocating peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.  As expected, Beijing arbitrarily denounced the Permanent Representatives and heightened up intimidation.  China once again despises the serious concerns over its reckless and irresponsible expressed by the international community.

China has long pressured the UN system to adopt an expansive and erroneous interpretation of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 passed in 1971.  This has been the main reason for Taiwan’s inappropriate and unjustifiable
exclusion from the UN system.  The resolution does not refer to Taiwan as part of China nor authorize the People’s Republic of China to represent the country in the U.N. system, and that neither Taiwan nor the PRC is subordinate to the other. 
Beijing’s distortion of the resolution in excluding Taiwan from the world body constitutes a flagrant violation of the spirit and principle of universality enshrined in the UN Charter.  The UN should take action to rectify its wrongful practice of denying Taiwan nationals and journalists access to UN premises to partake in tours, attend meetings and activities, and engage in newsgathering. The UN should ensure that Taiwan is afforded equal rights and due dignity to participate in meetings, mechanisms, and activities related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to make contributions.

Under Xi Jing-ping , China has ramped up political, economic, and military pressure on Taiwan.  It’s repeated and provocative military actions clearly violate the UN principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes and blatantly trample on the spirit of the UN Charter. The PRC’s boorish and heady-handed acts are unacceptable to civilized countries that uphold peace and stability, and the rule of law, and once again reveal what the Chinese Communist regime really is. 

For decades, Beijing has forcefully imposed One China policy as a prerequisite on it’s bilateral relations with other countries, and maliciously interpreted it in the UN system and the international community.  Furthermore, in August Beijing released its first white paper in 22 years, titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era.”, outlining China’s even more aggressive and hostile approach to Taiwan.  The white paper maintains the “One Country, Two Systems” framework for a post-reunification Taiwan, representing a deviation from the framework set out in the previous versions in 1993 and 2000.  The two previous white papers pointedly indicated that “…the central government will not send troops or administrative personnel to be stationed in Taiwan.”  However, under the new white paper, China reaffirmed that no individual or force will be allowed to separate Taiwan from China and noted its readiness to respond with the use of force against external forces that obstruct China’s reunification.

Over the years, as part of its efforts to dominate global agendas and international discourse with the aim of blocking Taiwan from engaging the rest of the world.  Beijing has incorporated its own One China policy into the UN system, and equated the policy with the Resolution 2758, through financial contributions and demand that Chinese nationals employed by the UN.

It’s strategy and hidden agendas have also been backed by secret memorandums with relevant UN bodies to exclude Taiwan from the UN community.

The 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) takes place from September 13 to 27 at UN headquarters in New York, under the theme “A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solution to Interlocking Challenges.”  The theme reflects the formidable challenges facing the international community, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, energy and food crises, climate change, and threats to global supply chains. At this critical moment, nations across the globe must work together in order to build a more sustainable and resilient world.

As a result of China’s long-held illegitimate claim to sovereignty over Taiwan and its politically motivated pressure and manipulation, Taiwan has long been deprived of fundamental rights to be an equal partner in the international community and the UN system.  With each instance of China’s military threats, diplomatic isolation, and economic coercions against Taiwan, we see the determination of the global alliance of democracies to stand up against authoritarianism and uphold democracy.  Taiwan will fulfil its international responsibilities, calmly respond to China’s unreasonable military threats, firmly defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and national security, and protect the front line of democracy and freedom.  At the same time, Taiwan will not back down. Instead, it will continue to steadily promote international exchanges and linkages. Therefore, we urge countries around the world to continue to express support for democratic Taiwan, voice their concerns regarding cross-strait peace, jointly deter the expansion and aggression of authoritarianism, maintain the rules-based international order, and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

We sincerely urge UN Secretary-General Ant¤înio Guterres to give due attention to the persistent and inappropriate exclusion of Taiwan’s 23 million people from the UN system, uphold the universal values of human rights that are one of the founding pillars of the UN, and realize the UN vision that no one be left behind. Taiwan should be able to join forces with all countries of the world in facing global challenges.

It is a well-established fact, commonly recognized by the international community, that neither side of the Taiwan Strait is subordinate to the other and that the PRC has never ruled Taiwan. As an independent nation and responsible stakeholder of the international community, Taiwan will neither escalate conflicts nor provoke disputes.  Rather, it will respond calmly and resolutely to safeguard its sovereignty and national security.  We sincerely thank its diplomatic allies and the international community for continuing to express support of democratic Taiwan and for their concerns about peace across the Taiwan Strait.  Taiwan will continue working with democratic partners to stop authoritarian expansion and aggression, to uphold the rules-based international order, and to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Andrew H.C. Lee is Representative of Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia