The UN General Assembly convened in New York earlier this month and is currently in session. As expected, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has not put forward any bid to join the UN. Ma’s inaction regarding UN membership is entirely in keeping with his China-friendly policies such as declaring a “diplomatic truce” with China and prioritizing relations across the Taiwan Strait above all else.
China, which published a white paper titled China’s Peaceful Development shortly before the opening of the UN General Assembly session, praises what it calls “the Taiwan authorities” for having stopped making bids to join the UN, saying that this has reduced head-on conflict between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Also, just recently, came the US decision not to sell Taiwan advanced F-16C/D jets, but only to assist in upgrading its existing F-16A/B fighters. That did not stop China from protesting against the arms sales package, however.
China’s game plan is very clear. On the one hand, it wants to reduce Taiwan’s space on the world stage, while on the other it aims to weaken Taiwan’s defenses. If this trend is allowed to continue, it will be only a matter of time before China annexes Taiwan.
Taiwan’s applications to join the UN have always been obstructed by China. Nevertheless, former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) unswervingly persisted in fighting for Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, thereby ensuring that the world community remained aware of the Taiwanese public’s aspirations.
This policy was in line with public opinion, but when Ma arrived, it was put on hold. It should be noted that Ma said one thing before the last presidential election, but did something very different after he was elected. During the election campaign, Ma solemnly declared that rejoining the UN was the common aspiration of Taiwan’s 23 million people, and that his administration would keep on working toward that goal. Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) even countered the Democratic Progressive Party’s referendum proposal to join the UN under the name “Taiwan” by proposing its own referendum proposal to make pragmatic and flexible applications to rejoin the UN and to join other international organizations.
However, in the end the KMT did not even support its own referendum proposal. What is more, since Ma became president, he has not said a word about rejoining the UN. Only during his first year in office did Taiwan encourage some friendly countries to propose a motion to the UN General Assembly supporting Taiwan’s right of “meaningful participation in UN specialized agencies and mechanisms.” Two more years have passed, but the motion has not been proposed again.
Ma has completely reneged on his campaign promise to the public. He is no longer making any effort to join the UN or its specialized agencies. Rather, his government asks only to take part in the activities of those agencies. The only reward Taiwan has received for Ma’s non-stop pandering to China has been to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei,” which does not give us member status at all. To make matters worse, the WHO continues to downgrade Taiwan’s status by calling it “Taiwan, Province of China.”
While bowing and scraping to China, Ma seeks to fool the public with talk of the so-called “1992 consensus.” He claims not to have sold out the nation’s sovereignty in the slightest, while creating an impression of peace across the Taiwan Strait. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that Ma’s claim that the two sides agree to disagree over their respective interpretations of “one China” is nothing more than his personal view, because China is clearly not living up to such an approach. China’s official declarations continue to stress its opposition to any moves in the international community toward creating “two Chinas.” This standpoint is a roundabout way of denying the existence of any agreement about “one China, with each side having its own interpretation,” because allowing the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China to coexist, as interpreted by the two sides, would be tantamount to creating “two Chinas.”