The government will not pursue UN membership and will instead continue to push for the nation’s meaningful participation at UN-related agencies, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said yesterday.
“With regard to the UN issue, the government will undoubtedly continue our meaningful participation [at UN-related organizations], but will not promote Taiwanese membership in the global body,” Lee said.
He made the remarks one day after Taiwan UN Alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) reportedly visited him to urge President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to “toughen up and honor more than 80 percent of the public’s demand” that the government should strive to join the UN.
Michael Tsai reportedly told Lee that the government should refrain from constantly making compromises because of the “China factor,” as Beijing would only take more actions detrimental to Taipei.
Lin made a similar comment at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on June 8, amid reports that the government was interested in applying for UN membership.
The Republic of China (ROC), one of the founding members of the UN, exited the global body in 1971 when a UN resolution ruled that the People’s Republic of China was the only legitimate representative of China to it.
There have been periodic calls for the nation to join the UN under the name “Taiwan” or rejoin the body as the “ROC.”
Two referendums on seeking UN membership were held in March 2008, shortly after former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) left office, but both failed to meet the required 50 percent voter turnout.
A high-level official at the ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Taiwan’s bid to join the UN is a politically sensitive issue and requires careful consideration, as it could affect both cross-strait relations and ties with other nations.
“I believe President Tsai would approach the issue in a pragmatic and down-to-earth manner. Personally, I do not think that her final decision would negatively affect cross-strait ties, nor leave our important allies, particularly the US, in shock,” the official said.
However, since the issue is above the ministry’s pay grade, it is up to the highest level of government to make the final call, he said.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the president’s national security team has deliberated on the matter and laid out plans to improve Taiwan’s participation in international bodies, including UN-related agencies.
The renewed calls for application for UN membership has also sparked discussions among lawmakers across party lines.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said several changes have been made to Taiwan’s stance on the UN membership issue, including the name, status and manner of an application.
“Nevertheless, the administration will come up with a more well-thought-out stance before this year’s UN General Assembly begins next month,” Lo said, adding that Tsai Ing-wen’s purported plan to change from “participation” to “dedication” at UN-related organizations is expected to win acclaim from the international community.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said that as the ROC flag cannot represent the nation in the international arena, the government should change both the official title and national flag.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said that as the public had witnessed the dismal outcomes of Chen’s UN endeavors, Tsai Ing-wen should introduce supplementary measures rather than simply “heating leftover rice.”
New Power Party caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that in light of an ongoing discussion in the international community that the appellation “Chinese Taipei” — under which the national team is competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and other sports events — can no longer represent Taiwan, the party would throw its support behind any bids for membership at the UN or the International Olympic Committee as “Taiwan.”
Additional reporting by Yang Chun-hui
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
ENFORCING CAUTION: Certain entertainment facilities are to close nationwide to prevent people traveling there from high-risk areas in the north, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert for Taipei and New Taipei City to level 3 in light of surging cases in the two cities. The enhanced disease prevention measures for level 3 are to be implemented until May 28, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a morning news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. With 180 locally transmitted cases confirmed yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the government must take immediate action to protect the public, referring to measures stipulated in the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法). Other counties
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
RISING TRANSMISSION: The center yesterday reported 333 domestic cases, including 241 cases linked to a cluster of infections from Taipei’s Wanhua District From 12am tomorrow to June 18, foreign nationals who do not hold a valid Alien Resident Certificate or resident visa will not be allowed to enter Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, as it reported 333 local and two imported cases of COVID-19. Transits through Taiwan will also be suspended during the month-long period, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “The policy is aimed at conserving the nation’s disease prevention capacity,” he said. Although there had been few imported COVID-19 cases in the past few days, inbound travelers would still take up some