Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UN Offers No Solution for Taiwan

By Stanford Matthews
Blog @

The United Nations is experiencing difficulty in making new friends. This week the UN denied Taiwan's application for membership to the United Nations. Taiwan has been regularly applying for membership and been continuously denied for the last fourteen years. While Taiwan and Mainland China parted company after a civil war in 1949, the relationship or connection between them has been disputed since. It would be fair to say that Taiwan views itself as independent while China does not. The opinions of other countries may be more a matter of international politics than their honest assessment of any sovereign status, if known.

In a press release from the website of the Government Information Office, Republic of China (Taiwan),
officials reference their right for UN membership, in part, based on the UN's Charter Preamble. The UN's ideal of equality for mankind is one argument Taiwan employs to justify their right to membership. They cite China's interference and the UN violating its own principles of universal membership

Taiwan insists they qualify for membership and 3/4 of their population favors membership in international organizations. Their is a summary of Taiwan's economic ranking, successes and strengths. The remainder of the points made are probably subject to challenge which may explain some of the difficulty in gaining membership. And Taiwan appears to be interested in taking advantage of some benefits of membership as well as contributing their particular expertise to the international community. The references to this point were provided by the GIO of Taiwan.

After searching the UN website for an extended period of time, nothing on the subject was found. That may explain why the AP report specified their information came from the Chinese language version of the UN's internet presence. The AP report indicates Taiwan was expelled from the UN in 1971 based on a resolution recognizing the People's Republic of China as legal owner of a seat at the UN.

Both China and the United States as well as other UN members have an ugly history in this lengthy dispute. The civil war mentioned earlier featured prominent historical figures such as Mao Tse-Tung (Mao Zedung), Chiang Kai-shek and George Marshall of the famed Marshall Plan. Mao and Chiang were leaders of the opposing sides in the civil war and Marshall brokered a peace deal that later failed with Mao victorious in the civil war and Chiang fleeing to Taiwan.

There were several resolutions in 1971 on questions of who gets to keep the seat at the UN. Part of the chronology from and account at Wikipedia indicates the civil war never ended and that Taiwan is a rebel government. One resolution indicates the US offered an arrangement where People's Republic of China and Taiwan retain membership. It is outside the scope of this post to attempt to draw a conclusion on such a muddy, complicated chronology of events. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities to assume there was a great deal of questionable international politics at play resulting in the outcome. It is also possible that Taiwan's intentions are not completely innocent. And there are suggestions that China would attack Taiwan if it attempts a move to independence.

This post is simply intended to add to the chronicle of the UN and the pointless exercise that it is. As mentioned by the GIO of Taiwan, the UN's own charter claims to offer universal membership and to treat all nations equally. That hardly seems to be the case here although it is not the only denial of membership on record. But there is no indication the UN offered any reason for the rejection. Taiwan contends the application should be discussed by the General Assembly but the Secretary General simply returned the application without comment.

Even if all involved are masking their true intentions the fact remains the noble ideas and intentions presented to justify the UN's existence have never been realized. And there is no evidence to support they ever will. This is merely political and public relations cover for the typical maneuvers that take place between nations of the world. The promise of the UN is about as empty as WWI being called the war to end all wars.


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