Sun, Aug 22, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Perseverance will pay off at the UN

By the Liberty Times editorial

The diplomatic war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is heating up. Taiwan and China recently started a new round of sparring at the UN.

On Aug. 10, 15 of the nation's diplomatic allies -- including Chad, Gambia and Nicaragua -- submitted a joint proposal to the UN, calling on the General Assembly to acknowledge the Taiwanese people's right to be represented in the world body, and to stop its policy of "political apartheid" against the country's 23 million people.

In response to the proposal, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yishan (張義山) sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Aug. 12, condemning Taiwan's instigation of "Chad and a very few other countries" to submit the proposal on its behalf as an attempt "to create `two Chinas' or `one China, one Taiwan' in the UN ... The Chinese government and people strongly condemn and firmly oppose such a gross encroachment on China's internal affairs."

China also claims that Taiwan is "pushing cross-straits relations to the verge of danger and posing a grave threat to peace and stability in Taiwan Strait as well as the Asia-Pacific region." Zhang further requested that his letter be circulated as an official document of the 59th session of the General Assembly.

Due to former president Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣中正) personal insistence on the policy that "Gentlemen will not stand together with thieves," the Republic of China (ROC) withdrew from the UN in 1971 before the General Assembly's vote on the membership of the People's Republic of China (PRC). As a result, both the ROC's membership and its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council were taken over by the PRC.

Ironically, although the ROC's name is listed in the UN Charter, the nation has been excluded by the organization ever since 1971. The 23 million people of Taiwan have gradually become orphans in the international community. Although this is its 12th annual attempt to re-join the UN, the country's chances of gaining membership are still quite slim.

The country's failure to re-gain entry to the UN is a result of unwise decisions during the authoritarian era. Since it was unable to accept the co-existence of the ROC and PRC in the UN, it lost a historic opportunity and has constrained and isolated itself as a result. Under pressure from China, the UN has repeatedly refused to accept the admission of the Taiwanese people into the organization. This is an irreparable fault in an organization that was established in 1945 to maintain international peace and security after World War II. The refusal also exposes the hypocrisy of international power games.

The UN's refusal is a tragedy for all Taiwanese, but it is also a loss for the international community. There are 23 million Taiwanese, more than the number of citizens in many UN member countries. Taiwan has a developed economy and is one of the four Asian Tigers. It is a democracy, protects freedom and human rights, and is fully capable of making a positive contribution to the international community.

Regrettably, the UN is now in the grip of power politics and has lost its lofty ideals of maintaining peace and promoting the advancement of humanity. Instead it has deteriorated into a place where the great powers can divide their loot behind closed doors and rubber-stamp great power hegemony. The unreasonable stifling of the international recognition for 23 million Taiwanese and their basic right to participate in international affairs is the best example of the UN's decline.

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