Allies speak for Taiwan at UN General Assembly

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 27, 2017 - Page 3

Fifteen of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies voiced their support for Taiwan at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said 15 of Taiwan’s 20 diplomatic allies showed their support for Taiwan in their addresses during the general debate, which began on Tuesday last week and concluded on Monday.

A number of nations said that their UN ambassador would sign a letter to be sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to show their support for Taiwan, with the number of signatories to be announced soon, she said.

“Each diplomatic ally is using a different approach to voice their support for Taiwan based on an evaluation of their own national interests,” Wang said.

Paraguay, Swaziland, Nauru, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Palau, Tuvalu, Kiribati, St Lucia, the Solomon Islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, the Marshall Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, and Nicaragua all voiced support for Taiwan.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the Dominican Republic did not publicly speak for Taiwan, and have not done for the past five years.

Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in Europe, Vatican City, is not a member of the UN, but a permanent observer that rarely speaks at meetings.

Between 2009 and 2015, an average of 15 to 18 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies have mentioned Taiwan in their UN General Assembly meeting addresses.

Last year, 13 nations spoke up for Taiwan.

Unlike in previous years, Taiwan made three concrete demands ahead of the UN General Assembly, urging the UN to remember Taiwan’s 23 million people who have been neglected by the international organization for decades.

The three demands were for the UN not to reject Taiwan, in line with the principle of true universality; end measures preventing Taiwanese from entering UN meetings; and to include Taiwan in the UN in recognition of its achievements in realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The Republic of China forfeited its UN membership in 1971 after the passage of a resolution stating that the People’s Republic of China was the only legitimate representative of China to the international body.

The government in 1993 launched an annual campaign to regain a its seat in the UN.

In 2007, during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the government sought UN membership under the name Taiwan, but the campaign failed.

Under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration from 2008 to last year, the government did not apply to re-enter the UN under the Republic of China name or to apply for new UN membership as Taiwan, instead pursuing meaningful participation in UN-affiliated organizations.

Since taking power in May last year, the DPP administration has adopted a similar approach to that of the previous KMT government, asking allies to speak out at the general assembly in support of Taiwan’s “meaningful participation.”