Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

UN MEMBERSHIP: Taiwan belongs in UN, experts say

SELF-DETERMINATION The UN Secretariat violated its mandate when it returned Taiwan's application in July, one US academic said at a seminar in Taipei yesterday

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taitung residents hold umbrellas spelling out the phrase ``Taiwan is home'' in Taitung City yesterday. They plan to travel to Kaohsiung today to promote the country's bid to join the UN.


Taiwan's application for UN membership represents the political will to self-determination of all Taiwanese people, and the UN, the US and the international community should support the idea that the nation belongs in the UN, US academics said yesterday.

As Article 55 of the UN Charter stipulates that the organization respects self-determination of peoples and promotes human rights, the UN General Assembly and the Secretariat have no right to reject Taiwan's application, Jordan Paust, a law professor at the University of Houston, said in an address to a conference on Taiwan's UN application hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei yesterday.

"Taiwan functions as an independent state and it is time for Taiwanese self-determination to ripen into a far more widely recognized statehood status for Taiwan and membership in the United Nations," he said.

Citing Article 55 and Article 100 of the UN Charter, which states that the Secretary-General and the staff "shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization," Paust accused the UN Secretariat of violating its mandate when it returned Taiwan's application in July.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on July 18 sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting UN membership under the name "Taiwan," but the letter was returned.

Chen's letter to the UN General Assembly protesting Ban's move earlier this month was also rejected.

Paust condemned the UN General Assembly and the Secretariat, and said that China, as a member of the UN, had no authority to deny Taiwanese people self-determination and human rights by vetoing the nation's membership application.

Although the International Court of Justice has not found any Security Council decision to be ultra vires ("beyond its powers") under the Charter, Paust said that Taiwan should ask its allies to demand that the UN General Assembly request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the propriety of a particular decision of the Council or an attempted veto by one of its permanent members.

Joining Paust in support of Taiwan's application, Dennis Hickey, a professor of international affairs at Missouri State University, called on US President George W. Bush's administration to employ "quiet diplomacy" and assist Taiwan with its UN application.

"The US should gently nudge other countries, including China, toward the idea that Taiwan belongs in the UN -- if only as an observer or non-state actor," he said.

As a creative strategy to help Taiwan be accepted as a UN member, Hickey urged the US to have other countries introduce a resolution to support Taiwan's participation as an "observer" under the name of "Chinese Taipei" at the same time when Taiwan submitted its proposal to join the UN as "Taiwan."

While the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) UN application may be rejected, the resolution should be a solution to resolve the thorny Taiwan representation issue and create a "win-win-win" situation for Chen's government, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and China, Hickey said.

"Any resolution will require new thinking, compromise and multilateral cooperation among numerous governments," he said.

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