Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 8 News List

A denuded bid for the UN harms Taiwanese

By Chen Lung-chu 陳隆志

The 64th session of the UN General Assembly opened at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. As an independent, sovereign state, Taiwan has the right to be a member of the world body — a wish and demand of the majority of Taiwanese.

As the previous administration was preparing to promote the nation’s bid for UN membership under the name “Taiwan” in 2007, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), then in opposition, organized a protest against the government’s referendum proposal on joining the body.

Then-KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) issued a statement to the effect that the parade expressed the opinion of the general public and supported equal status for Taiwan in the international community.

Ma’s promises are still ringing in our ears, but since his accession to power, all the political checks he issued have bounced.

Last year, the Ma administration adopted a softer approach by promoting Taiwan’s “meaningful participation in UN specialized agencies” rather than full membership to create diplomatic reconciliation with Beijing.

This year the government made an even bigger change to its approach by abandoning the annual campaign of mobilizing diplomatic allies to request that the UN General Assembly include Taiwan’s bid for UN membership on its agenda, a campaign that started in 1993.

The Ma administration instead bowed to China and asked for its permission for Taiwan to participate in UN specialized agencies as a member that is inferior to an independent state.

Not only is Ma making the nation’s diplomacy dependent on Chinese whim, he has repeatedly muddied issues of sovereignty — even declaring a diplomatic truce with Beijing. This move runs counter to the demands of the majority of Taiwanese and has greatly harmed the nation’s international profile and dignity.

Taiwan has not been a part of China since 1895, and in this time, it has evolved into an independent, sovereign state.

If the government were not to apply for UN membership under the name Taiwan in accordance with Article 4 of the UN Charter, or seek international support for Taiwan’s bid for UN membership through tangible actions, it would fail to demonstrate that Taiwan is a peace-loving country, as well as a sovereign and independent nation that is not subordinate to the People’s Republic of China nor under its jurisdiction.

The Ma administration’s failure to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and its decision to abandon the nation’s UN bid will mislead Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and give the wrong impression that China has sovereignty over Taiwan. In so doing, Taiwan is further pushed into the trap of unification with China.

Taiwan’s bid for UN membership may still have a long way to go, but it is not a mission impossible. As long as we work together in the right direction, our dream will come true.

Chen Lung-chu is president of the Taiwan New Century Foundation.

TRANSLATED BY TED YANG

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