The day after the Republic of China lost its UN seat, Frederick Chien (錢復), the foreign ministry's director-general of the Department of North American Affairs, received a phone call from an American boy at Taipei's UN mission located on Second Avenue in New York City.
\n"He said, `I heard my father say that you lost your seat at the UN. You must be very sad. If you have no place to go, we have rooms at our home. Please come and join us,'" recalled Chien, now president of the Control Yuan, yesterday morning in his office.
\nTaiwan's loss of the China seat at the UN 30 years ago was the culmination of a slow erosion in support for the ROC which climaxed in what many scholars call "the collective denial of the ROC's statehood," in 1971. Its subsequent isolation from the international system immediately followed suit.
\nConventional wisdom has attributed the loss of the UN seat to the then-KMT government's adamant insistence on declaring itself the sole legitimate government of China, albeit with only de facto control of Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war on the mainland to the communists in 1949. Some have attributed the diplomatic fiasco to the government's refusal, at least in public, to accept the US-led concept of dual representation under a "two Chinas" option in the UN.
\nBut recently de-classified US files and insider accounts tell a different story, bringing to light the complex diplomacy that eventually led to Taiwan's departure.
\n"America's de-classified diplomatic files reveal that Taipei then opposed the idea of dual representation for domestic reasons, but told its allies not to take its own position seriously; Taipei hoped they would support the dual representation proposal even if it involved giving away its seat at the UN Security Council to the Chinese Communists," wrote James Wang (
PHOTO: FROM THE BOOK 'THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS', BY HENRY KISSINGER
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