New Taiwan: Ilha Formosa
The Website for Taiwan's History, Present, and Future
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Information on previous UN campaigns:

August 2000: DPP government restarts UN campaign

July 1999: Taiwan applying to the UN, again

December 1998: What says UN resolution 2758?

August 1998: Eleven nations propose UN membership

July 1997: Into the UN, but under what name?

March 1997: "We frequently achieve the impossible"

January 1997 Letter to Mr. Kofi Annan

October 1996: A New Taiwan into the UN

October 1995: "Into-the-UN" rally in New York

September 1995: Let Taiwan join the UN

September 1994: The road towards the UN

September 1993: Opposition plank becomes governmernt policy

Important events in Taiwan's history

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On 8 August 2001, the DPP-government of President Chen Shui-bian announced that it was re-initiating the campaign for Taiwan to enter the United Nations.

Below, we present an overview of recent reports, as well as more detailed arguments why Taiwan should be allowed to take its rightful place among the family of nations. In the left bar are links to UN campaigns in previous years.

A progress report

Why Taiwan should join the UN

The establishment of the United Nations in 1945 began a new era in international relations, and prompted a long series of declarations of independence in Asia and Africa. Because of a fluke accident of history -- the occupation of Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek's armies fleeing from China -- the Taiwanese people were not able to join the international family of nations as an independent nation right away.

Over the past five decades, the Taiwanese have, through their hard work and ingenuity, achieved one of the most prosperous economies of East Asia, and also brought about a full-fledged democracy.

Some international observers argue that we should not raise the Taiwan issue, saying that Taiwan's entry into the UN is impossible because China has a permanent seat in the Security Council and will block any attempt to let Taiwan join the UN.

We believe that such a position is indefensible and totally wrong: the world should not let itself be intimidated by a repressive and dictatorial China. It should stand up for the principles on which the UN was founded: freedom, democracy, equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

In particular Western nations, which seem so eager to trade with China, have the moral obligation to make it clear to China that its acceptance as a full partner in the international community hinges on its recognition of Taiwan as a friendly neighbor.

The UN, a "universal organization" ?

It needs to be emphasized time and again that Taiwan fulfills all basic requirements of a nation-state: it has a defined territory, a population of 23 million (greater than that of three quarters of the UN member nations), and a government which exercises effective control over the territory and the population.

Why is it important that this de-facto independent country becomes a member of the UN ? First, because of the original principles of the UN itself: the world body was founded on the principles of universality and self-determination. If the UN is to survive as an institution that safeguards world peace, it is essential that it adheres to these principles, and apply them to the case of Taiwan.

A second reason for supporting Taiwan's membership in the UN is that this further emphasizes that Taiwan's future is an international issue, to be dealt with by the international community, and not an "internal problem" for the "Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits" to decide on. The responsibility of the international community stems from the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952, which decided that Japan ceded its sovereignty over Taiwan, and that the future status of Taiwan was to be decided in due time "in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations." Certainly in those days, this term could have only one meaning: "independence."

A third reason for supporting Taiwan's entry into the UN is that over the past decade Taiwan has -- due to the hard work of the democratic opposition and the overseas Taiwanese community -- achieved a democratic political system, culminating in the election of President Chen Shui-bian and his DPP-government in March 2000.

This third argument is especially relevant for the United States and Europe. It would be indefensible, for the West to deny UN membership to a free and democratic nation, while condoning the presence of repressive, undemocratic nations such as China, Iraq, Iran, etc. This would be a flagrant violation of basic democratic principles.

No old rival, but new neighbor

It needs to be emphasized strongly that this new Taiwan is totally different from the old so-called "Republic of China" which was kicked out of the United Nations in 1971. Resolution 2758 dealt with the question who was representing China in the United Nations. It did not deal with the question of Taiwan's representation, which is a separate issue, to be dealt with as a follow up on the decisions of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951-52 (see text of the Resolution below).

For China, the new Taiwan is thus not the old rival from the days of the Chinese Civil War on the mainland (a myth perpetuated by the former Kuomintang authorities for many decades), but a new neighbor, which wants to live in peace with all its neighbors, including the big brother across the Straits.

Our Appeal

We thus appeal to the rest of the world, and particularly the United States and Europe, to live up to the principles of universality and democracy on which the United Nations were founded, accept Taiwan as a full and equal partner, and recognize it under the heading of a new "One Taiwan, One China" policy.

A new "One Taiwan, One China" policy would not alter international recognition of the government in Beijing as the rulers of mainland China, but it should specifically refer to the provisions of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952, in which the members of the United Nations decided that "...the future status of Taiwan will be decided in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations".

As part of this new policy, the international community needs to express clearly that:

  • in accordance with Art. 1.2 of the UN Charter -- it is the inalienable right of the people of Taiwan to determine their own future, free from outside coercion,
  • the people of Taiwan have a right to membership of their country in the United Nations under the name "Taiwan", and
  • it is in China's own interest to accept Taiwan as a friendly neighbor, end hostilities towards the island, and move towards peaceful coexistence, instead of perpetuating an old and anachronistic Civil War. The Taiwanese themselves didn't have anything to do with that Civil War and their future should not be held hostage to it.

What does Resolution 2758 say?

Below is the text of UN Resolution 2758. It doesn't say anything about Taiwan. It merely settled the question which regime was the legitimate representative of China. Taiwan's status is thus unaffected, and needs to be resolved on the basis of the principle of self-determination, as decided at the San Francisco Peace Conference of 1951-52.

Resolution on Restoring the Rights of the PRC, 25 October, 1971

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Considering that the restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China is essential both for the protection of the Charter of the United Nations and for the cause that the United Nations must serve under the Charter,

Recognizing that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council,

Decides to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it.

Source: 25 Yearbook of the United Nations, 1971, p. 136.

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