World order needs to bring Taiwan in from cold

03-Sep-2019 Intellasia | The Australian | 6:02 AM Print This Post

President Tsai Ing-wen of the ­Republic of China (Taiwan) transited in July through New York — an icon of diversity and freedom, and home to the UN — as a prelude to her state visit to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean.

While meeting the envoys to the UN of Taiwan’s allies, Ms Tsai reiterated that Taiwan’s 23 million people have the right to participate in the UN system. She also emphasised that Taiwan is committed to joining hands with global partners to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals to forge the world we want, and the future we need.

Taiwan, a full-fledged democracy, has made considerable progress in fulfilling the SDGs and has provided assistance to countries in need. Nevertheless, it continues to be barred from participating in related meetings, mechanisms and activities due to political interference. Taiwan is willing and ready to share its success story and contribute further to the collective effort to achieve the SDGs.

After many years of effort, ­Taiwan has made great strides in alleviating poverty and achieving zero hunger. Our proportion of low-income households has been reduced to 1.6 per cent. Launched in 1993, the National Health Insurance program now covers 99.8 per cent of the population. Last year, our waste recycling rate reached 55.69 per cent, our literacy 98.8 per cent, and our infant mortality rate 4.2 per 1000. These figures far surpass SDG standards.

Taiwan has been providing development assistance to and engaging in co-operation programs with countries in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Last year alone, Taiwan conducted SDG projects in a total of 39 countries.

Considering Taiwan’s experience and contributions, it is absurd that Taiwan is barred from sharing experience and critical information that could be used to better co-ordinate international efforts.

The oft-cited legal basis for excluding Taiwan from the UN is Resolution 2758 (XXVI), adopted by the General Assembly in 1971. However, the resolution does not address the issue of Taiwan’s representation in the UN, nor does it state Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China. In fact, Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC. Only Taiwan’s democratically elected government can represent its 23 million people. Unfortunately, the UN continues to misuse and misinterpret the resolution to justify its wrongful exclusion and isolation of Taiwan.

International organisations are created to meet the common objectives of its members, not to serve the interests of just one member. Article 100 of the UN Charter clearly states that “in the performance of their duties the secretary-general and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organisation”.

Regrettably, the UN sits idly by whenever China seeks to impose its so-called “one China principle” on the UN system. The most recent example involves dozens of NGOs being denied consultative status by the UN Economic and Social Council simply because a reference to Taiwan in their documents contradicts China’s demands.

A truly inclusive UN would not leave anyone behind. Today, however, Taiwan passport holders are blocked from entering UN premises. Taiwanese journalists and media outlets are also denied accreditation to cover UN meetings. These practices are unjust and discriminatory, and contravene the principle of universality upon which the UN was founded.

This dire situation does not, and never will, intimidate Taiwan. Taiwan is ready, willing and able to contribute. If the UN continues to yield to China’s coercion, rejecting Taiwan’s participation, it will only encourage Beijing’s callousness. Efforts to fulfil the purpose of achieving international co-operation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, as stated in article 1 of the UN Charter, will also be impaired.

If the host of nations is serious about promoting inclusion and making development sustainable for all, it should open its doors to Taiwan.


Category: Taiwan

Print This Post