The United Nations will open the 74th General Assembly at its New York headquarters in late September. Some countries badly want to attend the conference but cannot do so. One of them is Taiwan.
Nearly half a century — more precisely 48 years — has passed since Taiwan was evicted from the U.N. Taiwan, formally the Republic of China, was a founding member of the largest and most important international organization in 1945 after the end of WWII. The island country, however, began to face diplomatic difficulties from the late 1960s along with the rise of mainland China. In 1971, Taiwan was expelled from the global body.
Since then, the People’s Republic of China has been supplanting the role of Taiwan as the sole and legitimate entity that can use the name China externally. This reflects complicated international politics surrounding China and Taiwan, and the crucial question is whether Taiwan is independent of or dependent on China, over which the two countries still in conflict with each other.
Now, Taiwan is making strenuous efforts to rejoin the U.N. by participating in affiliated agencies’ activities. Various restrictions on the international stage have forced the Taiwanese government and its people to feel the need to rejoin the world body.
Currently, not only government officials but also journalists from Taiwan are not given the access to U.N. facilities without special permission because Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign nation under the “One China” principle put forth by Beijing. Taiwan has used all means available to it to restore its U.N. membership, even applying with the name of Taiwan, not ROC.
However, the result has not been satisfactory. The obstacle named “One China” principle is too high for Taiwan to surmount it. Even its observer status that allows Taipei to participate in the World Health Organization was removed in May.
This was due mainly to Taiwan’s refusal to accept the One China formula. Most of the Taiwanese people think they are different from Chinese in historical and cultural origins. That, in turn, explains why Taiwan is trying so hard to join the U.N. again as a sovereign nation.
As a roundabout way, the Taiwanese government is focusing its efforts on joining various U.N. affiliates, including Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Even that is not proving easy, however. In the case of the ICAO, for example, Taiwan had been an official member but was excluded from the aviation-safety organization following its eviction from the U.N. Taiwan asserts potential safety risks stemming from the restriction of aviation information but is finding it difficult to persuade the existing member countries.
The Taiwanese government and its 23 million people say that Taiwan is an essential partner for the global community.