Tue, Aug 28, 2018 - Page 1 News List

No push for UN membership: source

QUIET ADVOCACY:The government will still lobby for participation in UN-affiliated organizations, including using a series of short films on areas covered by the UN’s SDGs

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The government has decided not to push its allies to submit a motion to the UN General Assembly next month for Taiwan to join the world body, a high-level government source said yesterday.

The decision was made to maintain a “moderate and reasonable” approach, after weighing different factors, the source said.

“The government has not submitted such a proposal since 2009. [Such a motion] is a double-edged sword and we must consider the costs and benefits, as well as internal and external factors,” said the source, who has first-hand knowledge of the matter.

An internal assessment suggests it would be more effective for Taiwan to gather international support by not seeking a membership motion and adhering to its usual “moderate and reasonable” advocating of the nation’s pragmatic, professional and constructive participation, the source said.

The Republic of China (ROC), a founding member of the UN, withdrew from the world body in October 1971 after the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, which recognized the People’s Republic of China as the lawful representative of China to the UN.

In 1993, the government launched what became an annual campaign to regain a UN seat. During former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, it sought to obtain UN membership under the name “Taiwan.”

The government shelved its UN bid after then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took office in 2008.

Ma’s administration instead pursued Taiwan’s meaningful participation at UN-affiliated organizations, an approach President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has maintained since she took office on May 20, 2016.

The source said the government plans to issue three demands this year: that the UN addresses Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN, because its 23 million people should enjoy the same rights as the rest of the world; that the UN ends measures preventing ROC citizens from entering UN meetings and Taiwanese reporters from covering them; that the UN ensures Taiwan’s rights to participate in meetings and events related to the realization of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an equal and dignified manner.

To rally support for Taiwan’s cause, the government plans to ask its diplomatic allies to write a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres before the General Assembly opens on Sept. 18 and speak up for Taiwan during the UN General Debate from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, the source said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also producing a series of short films promoting Taiwan’s achievements in some of the areas covered by the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), the source said, including clean energy, national healthcare coverage and a circular economy.

“The plan is to show the world that Taiwan is an important partner for sustainable development,” the source added.

The ministry has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow to announce its UN campaign.

In related news, the Guatemala embassy in Taipei yesterday said its government would maintain its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

“In this regard, Guatemala is working very well with the Republic of China; we have many projects in common of different nature, which we are concentrated in developing each of them,” the embassy said in response to media inquiries.

Its remarks came hours after Guatemalan Ambassador Olga Maria Aguja Zuniga met with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) at the ministry amid rumors that the nation has been listed by the government as a high-risk ally.

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