The UN General Assembly is to be held later this month. On Tuesday last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its strategy: The government plans to promote Taiwan’s bid to join the UN by conducting a series of events in New York. The main purpose is to dismantle the misinterpretation of Resolution 2758. It is believed that by promoting a correct understanding of the resolution in the international community, Taiwan would be able to participate meaningfully in the UN’s system, its mechanisms and a variety of activities.
On Oct. 25, 1971, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758 to deal with who was China’s legitimate representative in the UN. Since then, China has been appropriating this misunderstanding as a political means to promote its “one China” principle in the international community. Based on Beijing’s stratagem, the discourse that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China” has been combined with Resolution 2758, which has been hijacked and deliberately misinterpreted. Consequently, the UN and the resolution have been repurposed into Beijing’s tool for endorsing its “one China” principle.
Taiwan’s application for a UN seat has long been denied, as China and its allies constantly appropriate Resolution 2758 and state that the Taiwan issue was settled back in 1971. As a result, Taiwan has been blocked from UN membership for years. In May, whether Taiwan should be granted observer status was put on the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) agenda for the 76th WHA meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, and a series of “two-versus-two debates” was conducted.
Taiwan’s allies the Marshall Islands and the Kingdom of Eswatini supported Taiwan’s inclusion, but China and Pakistan kept stating that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China,” insisting that the issue has been settled by Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1. In the end, the UN Office in Geneva decided not to invite Taiwan to the meetings in accordance with General Committee recommendations.
For a long time, the Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan and many forerunners have taken the initiative and advocated for a reinterpretation. We believe that the 1971 resolution should be comprehensively reviewed and reassessed at the UN General Assembly. These efforts are in line with the US government’s recent strategies. Taiwan has been working in tandem with US endeavors as evidenced by the passing of the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act in 2020 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023.
Moreover, the US House of Representatives on July 25 passed the Taiwan International Solidarity Act, which aims to clarify facts and rectify misinterpretations while showing US support for Taiwan. These actions by the US are all significant for reviewing the relationship between Resolution 2758 and Taiwan’s representation at the UN.
Through a tacit understanding between Taiwan and the US, as well as a broader and more extensive collaboration between Taiwan and other democracies, it is hoped that the world can obtain a better understanding of Resolution 2758.
In short, this resolution does not concern the people of Taiwan, it has nothing to do with Taiwan’s sovereignty and it should not be an obstacle preventing Taiwan from participating in any international organization. The misunderstanding should be addressed as soon as possible, so that this obstacle to Taiwan’s international participation can be removed. In this way, Taiwan, as a democratic, peace-loving and responsible country, would be able to contribute even more to the world.
Wu Shuh-min is the president of the Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan.
Translated by Emma Liu
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