The 77th session of the UN General Assembly opened on Sept. 13. More than 10 overseas Taiwanese organizations had submitted a petition to the UN secretary-general, protesting that 23.5 million Taiwanese are excluded from representation.
As president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, I also submitted a letter to the UN, saying that Taiwanese should have the right to be represented under the name of Taiwan.
The government has been asking its allies to support Taiwan’s entry into the UN, but under its official name, the Republic of China (ROC). Doing so would have involved the right to represent China, with the ROC replacing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the UN.
This would be opposed by China and even if Taiwan were successful, it would have meant that Taiwan was representing China, and that Taiwan was China, which is clearly not the case.
After World War II, the US and the Soviet Union formed the UN together with the other founding members of the Security Council. The Security Council included the US, the Soviet Union, a Britain much weakened from the war, a France newly emerged from the ignominy of German occupation and the ROC of the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) government, saved from the brink of extinction during the Second Sino-Japanese War only by the support of the US.
Chiang’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was defeated by the Chinese communists after the war. His military clique privately deployed resources to occupied Taiwan and Chiang followed in exile, saying that the KMT represented the ROC, thus retaining China’s seat in the UN.
On Oct. 25, 1971, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, recognizing the PRC as the only legitimate representative of China at the UN and removing “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek.” This was Chiang and his representatives being removed; Taiwan itself has never entered the UN.
Beijing has continuously peddled the lie that Taiwan is a part of China and the KMT regime has sung the same song in its exile on this side of the Taiwan Strait.
During the Cold War, the US followed the strategy of allying with China to control the Soviet Union, and this has meant that the US has preferred to maintain an ambiguous attitude toward the question of Taiwan.
Today, the international situation has changed and the US’ strategy has become one of containing China, while Taiwan has become a democracy, a nation ruled by the people, for the people. For this reason, the US’ attitude toward it has changed, too.
UN Resolution 2758 is almost half a century old. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Rick Waters has publicly criticized China for “misusing” the resolution to prevent Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UN for a long time.
The US, then, acknowledges that Taiwan does not belong to China, and that Resolution 2758 relates only to China and has nothing to do with Taiwan.
The US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee has passed the draft Taiwan policy act, clearly saying that its purpose is to “support Taiwan’s security and right to self-determination.” The US supports Taiwanese’s right to determine for themselves their status and future, and that China should not have a say in this.
Taiwanese should also demonstrate their own resolve for this, and work to join not just the UN, but also other international organizations, and discard the name of the ROC, which misrepresents what we are to ourselves and to others.
Tommy Lin is president of the Formosa Republican Association.
Translated by Paul Cooper
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