Taiwan will seek “meaningful participation” in the 16 auxiliary agencies of the UN and forgo the quest for full membership this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
“Our approach this year is based on the principles of pragmatism and flexibility to meet the expectations of the public,” said Andrew Hsia (夏立言), deputy foreign minister, adding that the tactic did not mean the government had given up on seeking full membership in the future.
The text of the ministry’s proposal called for the General Assembly to consider “the fundamental rights of the 23 million people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to participate meaningfully in the activities of the United Nations specialized agencies.”
The proposal, cosponsored by 17 of Taiwan’s allies — but not the Vatican, Haiti, Guatemala, Paraguay, Panama and the Dominican Republic — must first pass the General Affairs Committee on Sept. 16 before going to the General Assembly.
Only three of Taiwan’s allies are on the 28-member committee.
“It is an extremely difficult task,” Hsia said, adding that Beijing was the stumbling block in Taiwan’s bid to join international organizations.
“The ministry urges China to understand the expectations and will of the 23 million people of Taiwan and calls on Beijing to respond with goodwill and flexibility,” he said.
“China claims it wants to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people. What could be a better way than to stop obstructing our UN bid?” he said.
Hsia said that the focus at this point was not what name the nation should use to join the organization “because the name will not become an issue until the international community has reached a consensus welcoming Taiwan into the fold.”
Hsia said major players such as the US and the EU had reacted “more positively” this year than in previous years.
American Institute in Taiwan spokesman Thomas Hodges declined to comment on the US’ reaction to the strategy except to repeat Washington’s policy that the US does not support membership for Taiwan at international organizations that require statehood, but supports meaningful participation in organizations where full membership is not possible and organizations where statehood is not required.
This year will be Taiwan’s 16th appeal to the UN since 1993 after it forfeited its seat in 1971. Last year Taiwan’s bid sparked strong opposition from the US, EU countries and other countries. The bid used the name “Taiwan.”
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said at a press conference in Paraguay that this year’s strategy would help the public participate in the UN without harming the nation’s diplomatic interests and cross-strait relations.
Ma said the government was handling the bid in a cautious manner in view of the failure of the two referendums on the country’s membership in the UN earlier this year.
He was referring to the fact that neither the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-initiated referendum on “rejoining” the UN under the name “Republic of China” or any other practical title that would uphold the country’s dignity, nor the Democratic Progressive Party-backed referendum on joining the UN using the name “Taiwan” passed the voter threshold.
Ma said the government had three considerations in mind in determining the bid — public opinion, the reality of the international community and the consequences of the two failed UN referendums.
“Considering all the three factors, the UN proposal should be realistic and flexible,” Ma said.
Ma said the failure of the UN referendums had left the country with less room to strive for UN membership from a legal perspective.
The fact that the participation rate for both referendums was under 36 percent meant that the people of Taiwan felt regret that they could not participate in the UN but that the public at the same time did not consider adopting the referendums urgent, Ma said.
Ma said the government must take the referendum results seriously as they have symbolic meaning.
‘UNACCEPTABLE’: The foreign ministry said that China’s behavior broke international law, while Johnny Chiang was worried such balloons could be used against Taiwan A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the US was yesterday condemned by officials in Taipei and sparked calls for the government to plan countermeasures. The Pentagon on Thursday said it had detected a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the country. Beijing has said the balloon is a civilian meteorological device that drifted into US territory after being blown off course. The National Security Bureau and Ministry of National Defense should investigate whether surveillance balloons could be used against Taiwan and prepare to respond to such acts, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s postponement
INTELLIGENCE VALUE: While the US was working on recovering the balloon’s remains, China said that it reserved ‘the right to make ... necessary responses’ US President Joe Biden’s administration lauded the Pentagon for shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the US Atlantic coast on Saturday, but China angrily voiced its “strong dissatisfaction” at the move, and said it might make “necessary responses.” The craft spent several days flying over North America before it was targeted off the coast of the southeastern state of South Carolina with a missile fired from an F-22 plane, Pentagon officials said. It fell into relatively shallow water just 14m deep. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the operation a “deliberate and lawful action” that came in response to China’s
RISK FACTOR: ASEAN issued a statement saying the cross-strait situation ‘could lead to miscalculation,’ but it is willing to facilitate dialogue to ensure stability in the region The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed a joint statement by ASEAN leaders voicing concerns that the situation across the Taiwan Strait could affect regional stability. The statement was issued after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat ended on Saturday in Jakarta. It was the first major meeting since Indonesia assumed chairmanship of ASEAN this year. Attendees of the meeting reiterated their determination to promote “sustainable peace, security, stability, and prosperity within and beyond the region,” the statement said. They expressed concerns about developments across the Taiwan Strait and their “implications on regional stability,” the statement said. The cross-strait situation “could lead to miscalculation, serious
THINK TANK VISIT: The former US Indo-Pacific official said that a capture of Taiwan’s outlying islands by China rather than a large-scale attack is a grave security concern The US and Taiwan can deepen their relations on many fronts, former head of the US Indo-Pacific Command Philip Davidson said yesterday while visiting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office. Davidson is leading a six-member delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research, a US-based think tank. They arrived on Monday and are scheduled to depart tomorrow. Tsai met with the delegation yesterday morning, welcoming the organization on its first visit to Taiwan since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the office said in a statement. She thanked Davidson, a retired admiral, for paying close attention to matters regarding the Taiwan