Jan 30, 2007

Taiwan: NGO Supports UN Membership

A Taiwanese civic group urges Taiwan to submit an application to rejoin the United Nations before current President Chen Shui-bian’s term ends in 2008.

Below is an article published by Playfuls.Com:

A Taiwan civic group has urged Taiwan to apply to rejoin the United Nations as a sovereign country, a move that could trigger a sharp reaction from China, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TaiUNA) made the appeal in a letter Saturday to President Chen Shui-bian, citing the urgency in filing the application before Chen's term ends in 2008, the Liberty Times reported.

"We hope President Chen can seize the opportunity to turn this into action. The president should apply to the UN secretary general that Taiwan should join the UN in the name of Taiwan," the letter said.

"The international community is used to calling Taiwan as Taiwan. We believe that if we apply for UN membership as Taiwan, we can win greater support from the world."

The issue of Taiwan's UN membership goes back to the 1949 Chinese Civil War, which split Taiwan and China. The Chinese Nationalists, after losing the mainland to the Communists, fled to Taiwan to set up a government-in-exile but continued to use Republic of China (ROC) as the state's legal name and continued to hold China's seat in the UN.

In 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 to expel Taipei and accept the Beijing-based government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legitimate representative of China.

The UN's expulsion of Taiwan marked the start of Taiwan's international isolation, as most countries switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, keeping only trade ties with Taipei.

In 1993, Taiwan kicked off an international campaign to rejoin the UN as an observer, but the effort has failed each year due to a boycott by China, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

After a string of setbacks, some scholars have suggested that Taiwan should apply to join the UN as a new nation, named Taiwan, instead of applying for UN observer status under the name of ROC.

President Chen has said that he supports the idea, but has not said when Taiwan would apply for UN membership under the name of Taiwan.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province awaiting reunification with the mainland.

Beijing has blasted Taiwan's effort to rejoin the UN as an attempt by Taipei to internationalize the Taiwan issue and to seek formal independence. Beijing has warned that it will recover Taiwan by force if Taipei declares independence or indefinitely delays unification.