At the heart of the government's bid to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" is the issue of the nation's sovereignty, a divisive question even among independence activists.
For many who consider Taiwan independent, the bid for UN membership is a clear-cut case of demanding one's basic right to representation. However, some independence activists contend that the nation must seek de jure independence before applying to join the international body, as UN membership requires nationhood.
But some historians and politicians argue that independence is already clear, because Taiwan has been independent from China since 1895, when the latter ceded Taiwan and the Penghu islands in perpetuity to Japan.
In addition, some say the nation's title is technically still the "Republic of Formosa," founded by a Taiwanese government in 1895 -- a government that lasted only 184 days.
Others argue that the question of nationhood is unclear as the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty following World War II, which rescinded Japanese colonial control over Taiwan and the Penghu islands, did not specify any new government in place of the Japanese.
This has also led to the claim that the US has disposition rights over Taiwan, as some claim the US was the occupying power of the island during World War II and has never formally ended US Military Government control over Taiwan.
On July 19, President Chen Shui-bian (
The letter was submitted with the sponsorship of two of the nation's diplomatic allies -- Swaziland and the Solomon Islands. The UN Office of Legal Affairs, however, rejected the letter, citing UN Resolution 2758 as its reason.
The 1971 resolution replaced the ROC with the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the sole representative of China in the international body. It did not address the question of who represented Taiwan's population in the body.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has proposed to hold a referendum on whether to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" in conjunction with next year's legislative election. The referendum would aid the administration in its UN bid, the party has argued.
The proposal was first rejected by the Executive Yuan's Referendum Review Committee, controlled by the pan-blue camp, but it was later upheld by the Appeal Committee, also under the Executive Yuan.
With the Appeal Committee's support, the DPP is poised to proceed with a second-stage petition once the Central Election Commission has verified the authenticity of 90,000 signatures collected in the first stage of its application to hold a referendum.
Chen Lung-chu (
There is no doubt Taiwan is a nation, because it meets all four of the conventional criteria for nationhood: a population, a territory, a government and the supreme authority over affairs within its borders, he said.
Yet Taiwan is not a normalized country, he said, adding that UN membership is pivotal not only to the nation's dignity and security, but also to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Excluding Taiwan from the United Nations is a political apartheid, something worse than racial apartheid," he said.
Robert Chen (陳荔彤), an international law professor at National Ocean University, argued that Taiwan had been independent from China since 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek's (
Because of pressure from China, Taiwan has never declared independence, but there are many ways to do so, he said.
Holding a referendum on the UN bid is one of them and writing a new constitution and changing the nation's name is another, he said.
Robert Chen said that the government must enact a temporary decree stating the consequences of a yes or no vote for nationhood.
He criticized Ban as "illiterate" on matters of international laws, adding that the UN could decide only on Taiwan's representation in the organization, but not on the nation's sovereignty.
He said that the US only "acknowledges" China's assertion that Taiwan is a part of China, which is not the same as agreeing with it.
Hsu Ching-hsiung (
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin